Ongoing year, lately 28th July to 2nd August 2020, Hajj, the
pilgrimage, one of the most profound spiritual awakening gathering to Mecca,
will be off-limits to foreigners due to Coronavirus pandemic threat. Millions of
pilgrims throughout the world make a trip to perform the Hajj each year as it is
obliged once-a-year. It is a dream of every believer to visit Mecca and perform
Hajj but this year, the pandemic erupted and took away dream. After a period of
contemplation, Saudi Arabia announced its final decision to not terminate it
rather severely limit attendance currently residing in the country. This news
sent shock waves of grief and somehow disappointment across the Muslim World,
upending the plans of Million believers. After days, it narrowed the
announcement, saying that only approximately 1,000 pilgrims would be permitted
this year to prevent contagion.
Hajj is the annual gathering to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage is held on
8th to 12th of Dhul Hijjah, the final month of the Islamic calendar. Every
Muslim adult who is physically and financially able to have such a sacred
milestone journey is obliged to do Hajj once a lifetime period. The believer
(who) has performed this religious status, is added the honorific title “Haji”.
This yearly religious rite traces back to the time of Prophet Abraham (as).It
was commanded by Allah to establish a House called “Kabaah” and call the
believer to perform the prayer there. Almighty Allah states: Remember We made
the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the
station of Abraham as a place of prayer... (Chapter: Al-Baqra, Verse: 125)
"And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and
(mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and
distant mountain highways.”(Al-Hajj, Verse: 27)
The current ritual of a pilgrim is established through Muhammad, the last
messenger of God. In his period the Kabaah was surrounded by pagan idols. He
called them out towards oneness of God and refrained from worshipping of all
idols they had been praying for a long time. After the conquest of Makkah, the
House of Allah is cleansed by destroying idols and specialized for Muslims. In
632 A.D, the final pilgrimage of Prophet Muhammad was performed along with a
huge number of followers. He instructed them on the rites of Hajj. Aftermath,
Muslims carried on these annual rites properly but in some disruption, as
recently, the pilgrimage was curbed. Since the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
was founded, it is the first time that millions have been barred from Hajj.
According to the historian, the Hajj has been obstructed 40 times since 930. It
is claimed Qarmatians sacked Mecca and killed thousands of pilgrims. So, these
rites were adjourned for a decade until Black Stone was returned to Mecca.
Epidemics like Cholera has also been interrupted past pilgrims. Political
controversies and diplomatic issues have prevented pilgrims from entering Mecca
and war have also been a reason for preventing pilgrims to move Mecca.
Cancellation of hajj is a grave cause of grief but the COVID-19 is a
life-threatening and fatal virus. Till now, it has killed more than six hundreds
thousands people. So, severe restrictions and precautions must be the priority.