New Delhi: As India continues to reel under the COVID crisis, Saudi Arabia has announced that 60 thousand people will be allowed to perform hajj this year. Out of them, 15,000 will be domestic pilgrims.
According to a report published in The Hindu, Central Haj Committee officials predict that Saudi Arabia would put a cap of 5000 pilgrims from India. No prediction has been made over the State-wise breakup of the pilgrims.
Apart from reducing the number of Hajj pilgrims, the Kingdom has also made it clear that pilgrims aged below 10 years and above 60 years will not be allowed. Persons who were hospitalized in the past six months are also not permitted to perform Hajj.
While performing Hajj, the pilgrims will have to adhere to a two-meter physical distancing norm. As a precautionary measure, all carpets will be removed from Masjid Al Haram.
During pre-COVID times, millions of pilgrims used to perform Hajj every year. In 2019, 2.5 million pilgrims from across the world had performed Hajj.
As Saudi Arabia government used to allow one in one thousand Muslims from India, 1.75 lakh Indian pilgrims performed Hajj in 2019.
Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and the other four pillars are Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm.
It is mandatory for Muslims to perform the pilgrimage once-in-a-lifetime if they are physically and financially capable of it.