Indonesia cancels Hajj pilgrimage second year in a row

Jakarta: Indonesia on Thursday announced the cancellation of the Hajj pilgrimage for its citizens this year due to the spread and outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indonesian minister of religious affairs, Yaqut Khalil Qumas said in a press briefing that Saudi Arabia did not open Hajj flights.

“Due to the pandemic and for the safety of the pilgrims, the government has decided that this year it won’t allow Indonesian pilgrims to go again,” minister Yaqut said.

The Hajj trip has been canceled for the second year in a row for which hundreds of thousands of its citizens waited. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country with a population of more than 260 million people, nearly 90 per cent of whom are Muslims.

For many Indonesians, the religious pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime event, with an average waiting time of 20 years due to the quota system, according to the country’s cabinet secretariat.

“It’s not just country got quotas because the memorandum of understanding has not been signed,” he said, adding that pilgrims who had paid Hajj fees will be pilgrims next year.

Before the pandemic imposed social distancing globally, about 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina to perform the week-long pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia had announced earlier its intention to hold the Hajj rite this year, “in accordance with preventive and precautionary measures and measures”, in anticipation of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

And the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency SPA, that the Kingdom “puts human health and safety first” and intends this year to hold the Hajj ritual “in a manner that ensures the preservation of the health and safety of pilgrims, in accordance with health, security and regulatory controls and standards that guarantee the preservation of their health.” They can perform their rituals easily and easily in a safe environment.

Earlier in March, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia health ministry said that will only allow people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the Hajj this year.

Earlier, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that it would allow pilgrims from outside the country to perform Hajj this year.

Saudi health ministry in the month of May has released a guidelines for the Hajj this year, some of them which includes:

  • Those performing Hajj must be between the age of 18-60 years of Age.
  • The pilgrims must have had both doses of the vaccine with a vaccination card provided by the individual countries Health Organisation / Hospital / Ministry. (proof required)
  • The vaccine taken must be on the approved list that is recognised by the ministry of health within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • The first dose of the vaccine must have been taken by the 1st Shawaal 1442. Note: This day has passed and was the day of the Eid Ul Fitr 1442.
  • The second dose of the vaccine must be taken by the 14th day before arriving within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • The conditions of social distancing and the wearing of the mask and other precautionary measures will continue to protect pilgrims.

In the month of May, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the entry of travelers arriving from eleven countries that it imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 starting from May 30.

Travelers from the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Japan, will be allowed entry from 1 am on May 30.

What is Hajj?

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

Millions of pilgrims come across the world. 2020 witnessed an exceptional season for Hajj, and in consideration of the “COVID-19” pandemic. The number of pilgrims at that time was limited to about 10 thousand from inside Saudi Arabia only, compared to about 2.5 million pilgrims in 2019 from all parts of the world.