Hajj after the pandemic

11 July 2022


On 6 July, Hajj officially began in Saudi Arabia, a long-awaited event for many who missed it during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thousands of worshippers make the circumambulation around the Kaaba in Mecca’s Al Mukarram.

This year the authorities of Saudi Arabia have allowed one million Muslims with coronavirus vaccines to perform Hajj. According to BBC, about 850 000 pilgrims have arrived from abroad.

Many chose to make the circumambulation before the official start day of the rituals, and most pilgrims chose not to wear protective masks, although the authorities had claimed that it was better to wear them at the Grand Mosque.

Largest pilgrimage since the epidemic

Today, the streets of the holy city of Mecca are filled with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in white Ihram clothes. This year, there are more pilgrims arriving by quota than in the previous two seasons – 2020 and 2021 – but still fewer than usual.

In 2019, about 2,5 million Muslims participated in Hajj, but later the outbreak of infection forced Saudi Arabia to significantly reduce their number. In 2021, 60 000 citizens and residents in the Kingdom were fully vaccinated.

This year, age limits of up to 65 years were introduced for pilgrims. Apart from it, a certificate of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to travel was also required. Inside the Grand Mosque, medics are on duty at various locations and volunteers with wheelchairs help those who cannot travel long distances.

A few days before Hajj, Saudi Arabia organized a Grand Symposium on Hajj “Hajj after the Pandemic…Ritual and Care” with Hajj and Umrah Minister Shawki Allam and Head of the Office of the Two Holy Mosques Abdulrahman Al-Sudais.

At this symposium, participants stressed a cultural and civilizational role that Saudi Arabia had played in the organization of Hajj since the Kingdom’s foundation and highlighted the most significant achievements, innovations and developments aimed at the improvement of the two holy mosques (in Mecca and Medina). They also discussed measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection during Hajj.



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Photo: GLady/Pixabay