By Omar Bah
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah yesterday announced that in light of the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic and the risks of infections spreading in crowded spaces and large gatherings, it has been decided that hajj for this year will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia, would be able to perform it.
A statement from the ministry read: “The decision was taken to ensure hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings.
“The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques…confirms that this decision stems from the top priority it accords maintaining the safety of pilgrims on its land until they depart to their home countries. We ask Allah the Almighty to protect all countries from this pandemic and keep all humans protected and safe.”
The amir-ul-hajj of The Gambia, Alhaji Dr Ousman Jah told The Standard last night that he was in receipt of the Saudi government proclamation but that the national hajj commission is yet to formally meet the relevant government authorities to table the issue.