News Impact of Covid-19 Travelling to Makkah Madina Performing Umrah And Haj Present Year 2021 & Upcoming 2022.
This Year Performing Hajj and Umrah 2021 were different from pilgrimages in the last years. Accordance with latest COVID-19 Rules & regulations issued by Hajj and Umrah Ministry, This year Haj Performed only by 60,000 pilgrims were allowed to complete Hajj 2021. Let’s take a look impact of COVID-19 on Umrah, How Pandemic affected & changed these Spiritual Journeys for pilgrimages & how Saudi Arabia Makkah is ready to welcome more pilgrims from around the world in the coming years.
Pilgrims visit Makkah to perform pilgrimage any time during the year Which starts and End Between Muharram Till Ramzan (Ramadan), which is called ‘Umrah.’ Whereas The ‘Hajj’ takes place in the Islamic month of Zill Haj on fixed dates according to the Islamic calendar once a year. Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, Umrah pilgrimage was performed by almost 19 million pilgrims annually. For ‘Hajj’, around 2.5 million Muslims used to visit Makkah. But in 2021,were only 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi Expatriates & Citizens were permitted and allowed to perform the Hajj 2021 due to adverse effect of the pandemic. According to sources, only 1000 people performed the holy Hajj in 2020. The Haj pilgrimage was opened only for the Citizens of Saudi Arabia.
In View & Considering the spreading of the COVID-19 outbreak, Spiritual Journey for both the Pilgrimage ‘Umrah’ and ‘Hajj’ seemed impossible, however, Saudi Arabia handled the pandemic as well as pilgrimage amidst the pandemic quite efficiently. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had less mortality rates as compared to many other nations & also managed minimal social disruption. Best management by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah made it possible for Muslims to undertake pilgrimage and took maximum precaution to ensure, safety of the pilgrims.
Umrah Impact COVID-19 : How the Covid pandemic affected the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia ?
Believed of Hajj is as a way to wash all your sins and get the mercy of Almighty Allah. also it is believed to unite the Muslims community. During Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are supposed to recite and perform prayers together, sit and eat together, and celebrate it with unity. Instead, this pandemic led to social distancing, which could not make it possible for people to come together for the purpose of Spiritual pilgrimage. This Covid pandemic led to the bifurcation of people into queues to avoid, overcrowding that existed before the pandemic. Total number of Pilgrims allowed at one time in the mosque was reduced to a very few ensuring that the social distancing is Mandatory & being followed. Additionally, face masks became mandatory for visitors, and the people not wearing them had to bear the penalties. Police officers were on duty to note this and ensure that the guidelines were being followed.
Iftar meal (served when breaking the daylong fast) was also served in nicely sealed packages unlike previous years when pilgrims sat in lines to enjoy iftar together. food was prepared with extreme hygiene and wellness. Moreover, Zamzam water, considered holy water, was earlier collected from various watering points and made available in water bottles, while following social distancing as government norms.
Suggested Read: The Grand Mosque To Drop Social Distancing For Spiritual Pilgrims
Primarily, Authorities used to ask the foreign pilgrims for a negative RT-PCR test report which should be taken within 48 hours before arriving in Saudi Arabia. In addition, they are also supposed to be quarantined at a government-approved hotel for 6 days or can again take a RT-PCR test after 2 days of quarantine, and if the report is negative, they can leave the hotel.
The pilgrims who want to get entry in Haram, the Grand Mosque of Makkah, have to bring their vaccination certificates and show them in advance.
A University lecturer in Saudi Arabia, Egyptian pilgrim Aly Aboulnaga said, “I hope this is a successful hajj season. We ask God to accept everyone’s hajj and for the area to be open to greater numbers of pilgrims and for a return to an even better situation than before.”
With advent of technology, mobile apps are also helping in tracking updates of COVID-19 personal stats. Many apps can be used to keep your vaccination certificate, to track and warn if anyone affected with coronavirus is near you. If you want to gather for a social event, an app will give permit for the gathering. The app will also trace the positive people nearby if present at the party.
Eatmarna: This app helps pilgrims to confirm a time slot for granting access to the Grand Mosque. This app was created by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to ensure public safety and to avoid overcrowding. This mobile app specially designed for people who want to enter Haram.
Though it still can’t be predicted when the pandemic will end, and Resumption of Hajj & Umrah will take place on out its normal norms (Easy Travelling) COVID-19 impact on Umrah and Hajj will be completely relaxed in upcoming months, and Makkah will start hosting pilgrims from different areas of the world. As per the reports, the new variants of COVID-19 are also approaching. Hence, following the guidelines and restrictions are important and mandatory for the betterment of the visitors.
And also Haj & Umrah Visas will be provided Digitally E Visa (Hajj & Umrah Pilgrimage will easily Allowed to book and buy Packages online.