Religion

Hajj 2020: Cancellation, a possibility

Reports from Saudi Arabia points at the possibility of the cancellation of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, due to the oubreak of the ravaging coronavirus.

The pilgrimage, which lasts approximately 5 to 6 days depending on the lunar Islamic calendar, is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century AD, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham.

However, since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the world, the status quo may have been altered, as lots of world events have been put on hold in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Events like Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and other world events have been postponed, prompting Saudi officials to consider canceling this year’s edition of the yearly pilgrimage since about 2 million people are expected throughout the world.


Recall that Saudi Arabia has recorded 141,234 confirmed cases of the virus, with 45,626 of the cases from Makkah province, where the hajj is expected to hold. Being the epicentre of the virus in the country, and accounting for 724 deaths of the total 1091 deaths in the country, the officials in Saudi Arabia are being forced to consider canceling this year’s hajj.

This year’s hajj is supposed to take place from July 29 to Aug. 4, but Saudi Arabia has yet to lift an international travel ban implemented on May 20. Other countries have already declined to send pilgrims this year.

Meanwhile, the cancellation of this year’s hajj pilgrimage would further pose threat to the country’s economy, which is still reeling from the drop in oil demand brought upon by the pandemic.

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