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Saudi Arabia on Hajj 2020: Various scenarios being considered

Hajj which is scheduled for late July this year, is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world

Saturday June 13, 2020 1:48 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Hajj 2020

Riyadh: Saudi Arabian authorities were considering various options regarding the annual Haj pilgrimage season this year after the number of coronavirus infections exceeded 100,000, a senior official said.

"The case has been carefully studied and various scenarios are being considered. A formal decision will be taken within a week," Gulf News quoted the official in the Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah as saying to the UK's Financial Times daily.

One of the five pillars of Islam

There are wild speculations that Saudi Arabia is considering to cancel Hajj this year - for the first time since the establishment of the Kingdom in 1932.

Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is obligatory on Muslims who can afford it. Any decision to cancel Haj is ruled out considering its religious significance and the likely reaction from the Muslim world. But cutting the number of pilgrims is a strong possibility.

"Saudi Arabia could also consider drastically cutting the number of pilgrims arriving for Haj", sources said adding small or official delegates from selected countries could be allowed to perform Hajj this year.

One of the largest religious gatherings in the world

The pilgrimage, which is scheduled for late July this year, is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, with more than two million devotees visiting the Kingdom to perform Islamic rituals.

Indonesia, the country with the world's largest Muslim population, has earlier decided not to send its citizens for the Haj in 2020. Approximately 220,000 people from Indonesia used to participate yearly.

On Friday, Malaysia also confirmed that it will not be sending pilgrims for this year's Haj season. The other countries that have not to send the pilgrims for Haj are Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Brunei.

On the other hand, Haj Committee of India has decided to refund the Haj Amount it has collected from the pilgrims. Though India has not announced any decision regarding its pilgrims, the Haj Committee of India said those who want to cancel their Haj journey can do so.

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