The annual Haj is proceeding in Saudi Arabia, though in a downsized format. The core reason behind scaling down pilgrims is to prevent the hike of coronavirus. Due to the necessary wellbeing limitations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Haj 2020 came along with an executive strategic plan with stringent health protocols in place. In Pictures: Scaled-Down Hajj Begins while Keeping Social Distancing to Prevent Covid-19.
Furthermore, the Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah has already designated explicit places for the arriving pilgrims to finalize their procedures and implement preventive measures set by the country’s health authorities. The overwhelming fact for Muslim Ummah is only a few privileged thousands are performing the annual Islamic pilgrimage. To pull off the annual Haj pilgrimage in such a perilous situation is both laudable and enriching.
In Pictures: Scaled-Down Hajj Begins while Keeping Social Distancing to Prevent Covid-19
People dreams and plan for years to be among the blessed ones who are honoured to be invited by Allah Almighty to perform the sacred ritual. Haj culminates with the Islamic holiday of Eid Al Adha or the Repast of Sacrifice. This year due to the coronavirus eruption, numbers were significantly circumscribed with stern social distancing and hygiene measures put into effect.
People from all over the world come together to Perform Haj
Haj, an imperative pillar of Islam, usually sees millions amassing in the holy cities of Mecca and Madinah. The pilgrims flock in the holy cities over a six-day period. Albeit a different experience this year with access to the Haj sites at Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat given by special permits only.
The Mandatory Throughout the Pilgrimage
- Pebbles used for the ‘stoning of the devil’ ceremony are sanitized
- Pilgrims will not be allowed to touch the Kaaba or kiss the black stone at its corner either.
- During prayers, pilgrims have to keep themselves socially distanced from other worshippers
WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus hailed Saudi Arabia’s decision to significantly curtail the number of Haj pilgrims amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Though, the pandemic has defied the world in myriad ways. Not only have economies and lives been sternly interrupted, the deadly contagion has also tested people’s faith.
Let’s have a graphical glance of the ongoing holy ritual amid global health crisis!
Pilgrims maintain social distancing as they enter Namira Mosque in Arafat
Social distancing inside Namira Mosque
Circling the Kaaba at the Grand mosque
An aerial view shows tents of Muslim pilgrims in Mina
Maintaining social distancing while tawaafay kaaba
Wearing protective face masks arrive to circle the Kaaba
The fortunate a few thousands who have been called by Allah to visit his home