Despite the fact that many countries and religious institutions appreciated Saudi Arabia’s decision to restrict this year’s pilgrimage to a limited number of people in the country, a sense of sadness came over the pilgrims from various Islamic countries. The latter expressed their disappointment via social media, especially that many of them have been waiting for years to be able to fulfill this duty and are willing to pay a lot for it.
Some Islamic countries such as Egypt have accepted this decision, however, others such as Iran have expressed their displeasure at not having been consulted on this matter, especially since the Holy Places are the destination of choice for millions of Muslims throughout the world. Other countries have simply not commented on this decision. Morocco, for example, whose Minister of Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Tawfiq, has announced that all those who have been selected by drawing lots will be refunded for their expenses, while keeping the results for the next season.
Many institutions that issue religious Fatwas considered the Saudi decision as “a wise and legitimate decision, because it prioritizes the protection of the human being, which is one of the primary objectives of the Islamic Sharia”. The Muslim World League also also shared a similar views, stating that “this decision was taken in response to an urgent need imposed by the provisions of the Shariah and emergency health measures”.
It should be noted that Saudi Arabia has reduced the number of pilgrims for this year to a few thousand, compared to more than two and a half million last year. Those over 65 years of age as well as those suffering from chronic diseases will be excluded. The pilgrimage will take place in strict compliance with a variety of health precautions.
At the beginning of this week, the number of Coronavirus infections in Saudi Arabia has reached more than 164,000 cases.