It is expected that Saudi Arabia will cancel this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. This would have for the first time in its modern history. As the coronavirus cases are surging in the country and worldwide, this decision would become inevitable.
Saudi Arabia is getting pressurized by Muslim nations to announce whether the annual Haj pilgrimage would take place as scheduled in late July or not.
But as July is nearing, time is running out to conduct logistics for such a big gathering.
According to a South Asian official in contact with Saudi Haj authorities, “It´s a toss-up between holding a nominal Haj and scrapping it entirely. The decision will soon be made and announced.”
One of the most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia decided to withdraw from the pilgrimage. A minister called it a “very bitter and difficult decision”. Similar announced were made by Malaysia, Senegal and Singapore. Few countries including Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Lebanon and Bulgaria decided to wait for the decision by Saudi Arabia.
Umar Karim, a visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London said, “Saudi Arabia is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The delay in announcing its decision shows it understands the political consequences of cancelling the Haj or reducing its scale.”
Also read: Hajj and Umrah to Become Costlier
The South Asia officials said that Saudi Arabia is just ‘buying time’. Adding, “At the last minute if Saudi says ´we are ready to do a full Haj´, (logistically) many countries will not be in a position to participate.”