Saudi Arabia urged to take decision on Hajj

By: News Desk      Published: 04:45 PM, 20 May, 2020
Saudi Arabia urged to take decision on Hajj

As the coronavirus outbreak has plunged the ritual to perform Hajj pilgrimage into doubt, Indonesia has called on Saudi Arabia to discuss whether it will allow the holy pilgrimage or not.

The Umrah pilgrimage was also suspended in March, while the Saudi government has asked Muslims to postpone their preparations regarding Hajj 2020 due to the deadly pandemic.

However, Saudi authorities by the end of July will announce whether they will proceed with this year’s Hajj or not.

Indonesia’s religious affairs ministry said a decision should be made before the fasting month of Ramazan ends.

“We hope the official decision on whether Hajj will go ahead or be cancelled will be announced soon,” ministry spokesman Oman Fathurahman said. “Until now the Ministry of Religious Affairs has yet to sign any contracts or pay the down payment for Hajj services in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

The pilgrimage is a key revenue earner for the kingdom but risks becoming a major source of contagion if pilgrims flock to Makkah’s religious sites.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation and at least 231,000 of its citizens were registered to take part in this year’s pilgrimage.

Last year around 2.5 million travelled to Saudi Arabia from across the world to take part in the Hajj pilgrimage.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said that decision on Hajj 2020 will be made by mid of Ramazan. The minister said that Government of Pakistan was constantly in touch with the Saudi Hajj ministry officials on this matter. Currently, the Kingdom authorities had barred them from signing Hajj arrangements.

Noorul Haq Qadri further said that the Kingdom is analyzing the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Saudi authorities have different options for allowing the pilgrims’ proceedings.