This year’s Hajj was scaled down from 2.5 million pilgrims to as few as 10,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the years before the coronavirus, some three million white-clad pilgrims from across the world flocked to Islam’s holiest sites to attend Hajj under Saudi Arabia’s blistering sun.
With the pandemic making large gatherings impossible, only a few thousand pilgrims – Saudis and foreign residents in the kingdom – are allowed to gather this year on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat for the most important ritual. They share a common plea.
“Everyone will be praying for this pandemic to end, and for all the people of the world to see better months to come after all the suffering caused by coronavirus,” said Ammar Khaled, a 29-year-old Indian pilgrim who is an IT professional in Jeddah.
Over the years, the kingdom has spent billions of dollars on making one of the world’s biggest religious gatherings more secure.
This year, it faced the challenge of keeping Hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it and a major source of income for the government, safe from COVID-19.
For the first time in modern history, it dramatically reduced the number of pilgrims to ensure social distancing measures were adhered to.
The Hajj minister said in June the number of pilgrims would be limited to about 1,000, but no official number was given for those performing the rituals last month. Some local media cited a figure of some 10,000.
Saudi healthcare and security professionals, on the front lines of the battle against the disease, made up about 30 per cent of the total, with the remainder coming from 160 nationalities residing in the kingdom.
Mask-wearing pilgrims circled the Kaaba – a stone structure that is the most sacred in Islam and the direction which Muslims face to pray – in small groups of 50 people, each keeping a safe distance apart and accompanied by a health professional monitoring their movements.
Unlike past years when they lunged towards the Kaaba, pilgrims were not allowed to touch the plain stone cube building covered in black cloth and wrapped in Arabic writing on golden silk.
Workers sanitised the structure, rubbing Oud perfume, the popular Arab sweet and woody scent, on its walls and carrying incense as they moved around the premises of the Grand Mosque.
On site, 3,500 workers spread across the Grand Mosque in Mecca to sanitise it using 54,000 litres (11,888 gallons) of disinfectant and 1,050 litres (277 gallons) of air fresheners daily.
The floors of the mosque were scrubbed 10 times a day, up from three times in the past.
Source: Al Jazeera.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Magu Cries Out Over Fair Hearing, Lawyer Writes Salami Panel
SUSPENDED acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has told the Ayo Salami-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry that his rights to a fair hearing are being violated. This is contained in a letter written by Magu’s lawyer, Mr Wahab Shittu, dated August 11, and addressed …Hajj in the shadow of coronavirus
FG To Deduct Money From States Over Double Taxation
THE Federal Government is set to sanction states engaging in double taxation in the country, as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has asked the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, to deduct money from the source from those states…
Insecurity: NGF Calls For Investigation Into Obadiah Mailafia’s Allegation
The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has called on security agencies to investigate the allegation by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, that “…one of the Northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in…Hajj in the shadow of coronavirus
FG Set To Pay N22.6 Billion Final Entitlement Of Ex-Airways Workers
THE former workers of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, may soon have cause to smile as indications have just emerged that efforts are on top gear to ensure the payment of the final batch of their benefits. Information flittered out early in the week of the ongoing move by the Federal Government to offset…Hajj in the shadow of coronavirus
UNILAG Council Appoints Omololu Soyombo As Acting VC
With the removal of Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, the governing council has appointed Prof Omololu Soyombo as acting vice-chancellor. Registrar of UNILAG, Oladejo Azeez, in a statement also confirmed that Ogundipe was lawfully removed as vice-chancellor at an emergency meeting…Hajj in the shadow of coronavirus
You may be interested
Gombe Records 200 Rape Cases In 2020admin - January 17, 2021
Gombe State commissioner for Internal Security and Ethical Orientation, Maji Batari Zambuk, has disclosed that about 200 rape cases were…
Plateau State Varsity Lecturers Commence Indefinite Strikeadmin - January 17, 2021
The Plateau State University (PLASU) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has begun an indefinite strike over…
Everyone Coming Into Camp Must Undergo COVID-19 Test – NYSCadmin - January 17, 2021
Management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has insisted that everyone aiming to gain entrance into the NYSC camps…