Lakhs of pilgrims from India visit Saudi Arabia for Haj every year. Islamic pilgrims from all over the world gather to offer their prayers to Allah. This makes Mecca very crowded. Since welcoming such crowd is not feasible in the Covid-19 pandemic, the Saudi Arabia government has decided to restrict international pilgrims for Haj this year to ensure social distancing.
Reportedly, Saudi Arabia’s Haj and Umrah Minister Mohammad Saleh Bin Taher Benten has personally contacted Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi with the news.
On this, Mr.Naqvi gave the statement, “Honouring the decision of the Saudi Arabia government because of serious challenges of Corona pandemic and keeping in mind the health and well-being of the people, it has been decided that Muslims from India will not go to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj (1441 H/2020 AD),”
Not less than 2,13,000 Indian Pilgrims had signed in for the Haj this year which costed them a fortune. The government of India has planned to reimburse full amount which costed them to prepare for Haj including travel allowances.
The money will be sent in the bank accounts of the applicants through DBT method.
After the decision of the government in favour of women in 2018, women will be allowed to go for Haj without Mehram or male companion. Which is why more than 2,300 women had applied to be going for Haj without Mehram. These women will be allowed to go to Haj next year without any applications.
A statement was issued by the Saudi Arabia government stating, “Due to Corona pandemic and the risks of Coronavirus spreading in crowded spaces and large gatherings, it has been decided that Haj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia would be able to perform it. This decision is taken to ensure Haj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols.”