This is true. Saudi Arabia may cancel the hajj pilgrimage. The decision can be taken owing to soaring cases of the novel coronavirus. In the kingdom, the coronavirus cases reach 100,000.
A senior executive from Saudi Arabia’s hajj and umrah ministry talked the Financial Times. He said, “The issue has been carefully studied and different scenarios are being considered.”
In one week, an official resolution will be made. The hajj pilgrimage is one of the largest religious congregations in the world, with about 2m people participating in. However, after the cancellation of the Olympic Games in Tokyo and other major events, KSA is being forced to cancel hajj this year.
The Saudi government is considering two proposals. One is to enable a small number of locals to perform hajj; Another is to cancel the hajj at all. “All options are on the table but the priority is for the health and safety of pilgrims,” the official stated.
Earlier Saudi Arabia did not cancel hajj during the outbreak of Ebola and MERS. However, this time, the mortality rate and higher cases of coronavirus disease have forced the kingdom to take a certain decision.
Many countries reluctant to send pilgrims
In the country, on average more than 3,000 cases were reported daily and deaths have crossed 800.
Millions of people visit Saudi Arabia to perform the holy ritual. The biggest of them is Indonesia who accounts for more than 200,000 pilgrims. Nevertheless, this time Indonesians will not travel as per their government
“In May, we prepared two options: a 50 percent quota reduction or cancellation. [But] Saudi Arabia has not opened access to hajj pilgrims from any country to date,” said, Fachrul Razi, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister. “As a result, the government doesn’t have enough time to make primary preparations for services and protection of pilgrims.” Besides, Malaysia also not going to send pilgrims to Saudi this year.
In February, Saudi suspended umrah. Om May 20, the country lift the ban from international travel.
Since the year 630, Muslims are performing the Holy ritual of Hajj. However, in the past, before the contemporary kingdom, Hajj has been interrupted. Around 40 times Hajj had discontinued for political, economic, or health purposes. Any action of the Saudi Kingdom will have far-reaching impacts.
As per Yasmine Farouk, a scholar at the Middle East Program of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace talked about the issue. Yasmine said, “if they go ahead with hajj while the current Covid-19 situation doesn’t improve, they might incur unprecedented pressure on their health system, international criticism and maybe even demands for compensation.” Farouk added. “if they decide against hajj, the economy — especially local economies of Mecca and Medina — will suffer.”
In conclusion, the lethal pandemic of coronavirus has forced governments to take strict actions. Although many claims abounding hajj is a sign of Qayamat, there seems no other option.
Courtesy: Financial Times
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