RIYADH, KOMPAS.com – This year, the number of pilgrims has decreased dramatically due to the corona virus pandemic.
Only about 1,000 Muslim worshipers according AFP, which will begin implementing the fifth Pillar of Islam in the Holy Land on July 29.
Typically, around 2.5 million people from around the world participate in rituals that last for several days, which are centered in the holy city of Mecca.
This year the Hajj will be carried out under strict hygiene protocols with limited access for pilgrims under 65 years of age and do not have chronic diseases.
Also read: Canceling the Pilgrimage, this Doctor Dies to the Hospital to Oppose Covid-19
“Before staying at Arafat, the peak of the pilgrimage ritual will fall on Thursday,” said Saudi Arabian official media, SPA quoted by the Supreme Court. That means, on Wednesday 29 July is the first day of the pilgrimage begins.
There is also the time for the Hajj to be determined by the position of the month, based on the calendar of the Hijri Calendar.
Last month, Saudi Arabia announced that this year’s Hajj would be very limited. A decision that was ‘quite dangerous’ to the political and economic security of the country in the midst of a corona virus outbreak.
So far, the case of corona virus infection in Saudi Arabia has reached 253,349 cases and recorded 2,523 deaths, the highest number among Arab Gulf countries.
Also read: Hajj in the Middle of Pandemic, Saudi Arabia Implements 8 Health Protocols
Although the pilgrimage has been limited to 1,000 worshipers, 70 percent of the pilgrims are known to come from outside Saudi Arabia and the rest are Saudi Arabians.
Meanwhile, according to the ministry of hajj affairs, medical professionals and security members who are recovering from corona virus infections are prohibited from going on the pilgrimage.
The decision to reduce the number of pilgrims coming from outside Saudi Arabia was the first in the modern history of the kingdom.
It also sparked disappointment among Muslims around the world, although many understood that it was merely done to stop the transmission of Covid-19.
According to Saudi health officials, pilgrims will be tested for the corona virus before reaching Mecca and must be quarantined in their homes after completing a series of services.
Also read: Saudi Arabia Announces Only Allow 1,000 Pilgrims to Join Hajj
Saudi Arabia has seen an increase in infections and deaths due to Covid-19 since reducing restrictions on movement at the end of May. The country also has not restored international flight conditions.
The pilgrimage itself is the fifth Pillar of Islam and must be performed for Muslims who are physically and mentally healthy and able to carry out rituals of worship, at least once in their lifetime.
There is also the Muslim World League based in Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has supported the government’s move for the health and safety of the congregation.
A decline in the number of pilgrims shows a huge loss of income for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has been hit by a corona virus outbreak and a drop in oil prices.
Meanwhile, the pilgrimage to Umrah (small Hajj) conducted throughout the year has even been suspended since last March.
Under normal circumstances, both umrah and hajj, can provide the country’s income of 12 billion US dollars per year.