This year, 10,000 people will take part in the Hajj – a pilgrimage to Mecca - while usually about there are 2.5 million people, the first Deputy Chairman of the Russian Muftis Council, the mufti of the Moscow region Rushan Abbyasov said on Wednesday.
"The Hajj started today. Tomorrow there will be standing at Arafat. According to our data, this year ten thousand people perform the Hajj, of which three thousand are citizens of the Kingdom, and about seven thousand are foreign residents who were on the territory of the Kingdom: students, those who are on a business trip. Usually, the Hajj is performed by about 2.5 million people," Abbyasov said at a press conference of the project "Religion and worldview" in MIA Russia today.
He noted that anyone who had not performed the Hajj in the past five years could apply on a special website in Saudi Arabia. Abbyasov cited the example of students from Russia who are taking part in the Hajj this year: after confirming the application, doctors took a COVID test, then gave them a bracelet and ordered them to stay at home so that they would not get infected. On the plane, the students flew at a social distance. In Mecca, they were placed in a hotel in single rooms, and before the start of the Hajj, they were re-analyzed for COVID.
Moreover, the mufti said, at the last moment it turned out that on behalf of the king of Saudi Arabia and the custodian of two shrines, the Hajj for these students this year became free.
"Masks, gloves, and social distance are mandatory conditions for performing the Hajj. Social distance is observed everywhere: in a hotel, bus, plane, mosque. At the same time, about 100 people move in together around the Kaaba," Abbyasov said.
Traditionally, during the month of Dhul-Hijjah ("month of pilgrimage"), which in 2020 began on July 21, it is customary for Muslims to perform the Hajj – a large pilgrimage to the shrines of Islam. Believers, first of all, visit the Forbidden mosque in Mecca, and also try to visit the Mosque of the prophet in Medina. Saudi authorities on February 27 suspended entry to the country for the purpose of pilgrimage to Mecca and visiting Medina due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Pilgrimage to the Holy places in Mecca is prescribed to make at least once in the life of every Muslim. The Hajj can be performed in the month of Dhul-Hijjah dedicated to this. Due to the fact that the Muslim calendar is lunar, the time of performing the Hajj changes every year. A Muslim can make a small pilgrimage (Umrah) at any time of the year.
The mufti of the Moscow region told how to spend Eid al-Adha this year
All those who did not perform the Hajj this year can spend its main day in fasting, Rushan Abbyasov said.
"Tomorrow is the main day of the Hajj-standing at Arafat. For those who could not go to the Hajj, it is considered very worthy to observe the fast. On July 30, those who are healthy can fast. Mohammad said that the sins of the past and present year are forgiven for fasting on this day," Abbyasov said at a press conference in MIA Russia today.
He reminded that in Moscow and the Moscow region, the holiday will be held online because of the large number of believers. "We will not be able to provide social distance. Only the main Cathedral mosque in Moscow will host a service that will be broadcast online, " the mufti said.
Eid al-Adha holiday will be held this year on July 31 in all Muslim countries, and after three days, Muslims will perform the rite of the stoning of the Devil, Abbyasov said.
"Also during these three days-on August 1-3 (before sunset) - it will be possible to perform the ritual of slaughtering an animal, observing the social distance and wearing masks. We always encourage that the animal should be slaughtered at the slaughterhouse, but if this is not possible, you can order ready-made meat at home. It costs about eight thousand rubles, " the mufti said.
He stressed that according to Islamic tradition, this meat should be divided into three parts: one part should be given to those in need, the other-to relatives, and if there are concerns about the epidemic, you can just give it away, and the third part should be left to the family.
Eid al-Adha (in Arabic) is one of the main Muslim holidays. It is celebrated on the tenth day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah of the Islamic lunar calendar and lasts for three days.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Hassan Morowa / Pexels
Based on materials from RIA Novosti