Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. The literal meaning of Hajj is to intend a journey. However, for Muslims, it is an obligatory annual gathering and pilgrimage to the Holiest site of Kaabah for those who can bear the physical and financial hardships for the journey. It is mandatory for Muslim adults at least once in their lifetime. The global gathering of hajj takes in the last Islamic month of Zil Hajj. Approximately, every year about 3.5 million people from the world arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to offer a pilgrimage to Kaabah in Mecca city. However, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the pilgrims were limited to a few thousand in the year 2022. Read the blog to know more about the Hajj in 2022. Lets see How Many People Went To Hajj This Summer? depending on the pandemic conditions.
Who Was Allowed To Perform Hajj In 2022 By The Government Of Saudi Arabia?
The government in Saudi Arabia announced about two months before the annual gathering that they would scale back the number of pilgrims in 2022. To be exact, only 1000 worshippers, already residing in the country, were allowed to undertake the obligatory duty of Hajj. In the year 2020, no overseas visitors were allowed to visit the country for offering the Hajj pilgrimage however, in 2022 millions of Muslims will do that depends on . In addition to this, health ministry also issued a statement that the residents over 65 years of age and with chronic diseases will be strictly prohibited to perform Hajj. The authorities also provided pilgrims with wristbands to track their movements. The move was in line with the global efforts to curtail the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.
Health Protocols Enforced During Hajj 2022
Visitors were tested for corona-virus before showing up in the blessed city of Mecca and were isolated at their homes after completing the Hajj obligations. Similarly, putting off the face a mask was not allowed for both the pilgrims and coordinating staff. Moreover, contacting or kissing the Kaabah, the holiest site in Islam, was prohibited during the Hajj this year. In addition to this, authorities also ensured a physical distance of about 1 and a half meters between all pilgrims while they encircled Kaabah. The similar precautionary measures were taken during congregational prayers throughout the ritual. Last but not the least, access to holy sites in Mina, Muzdalifah, and Mount Arafat was only granted to the pilgrims possessing Hajj permits.
How People Reacted To The Hajj Policy 2022?
The obligation of hajj is of utmost significance for Muslims as they not just merely consider it as a religious practice to revive their faith but also a gesture and a source of solidarity for Muslims. Therefore, barring Muslims from undertaking such a blessed journey invited obvious criticism. However, the overall reaction to the Hajj, being limited to just 1000 worshipers with strict measures, has been mixed in nature. Undoubtedly, people expressed disappointment on Hajj being scaled back to limited pilgrims. People resented the decision and expressed apprehension about stripping Hajj of its universal nature. On the contrary, a large number of people also defended the move, considering it imperative to curb the rapidly spreading corona-virus. This faction of the people also asserted that the human should be prioritized above all, and risking it in such unprecedented circumstances cannot be encouraged at all.
How The Different Governments Directed Their Hajj Policy In 2022 After The Outbreak Of The Virus?
How Many People Went To Hajj This Summer? Even before the official announcement by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj, countries across the world barred their citizens from performing Hajj in 2022. In addition to this, people were also subjected to strict travel restrictions. However, people who had already paid for the Hajj expenses were either assured to be accommodated in Hajj 2021 or guaranteed refund. However, the few countries like Pakistan also allowed their diplomats and officials in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. In this way, the whole of the nation was represented during Hajj in the on-going year.
Is It The First Time That People Have Been Barred From Undertaking Pilgrimage?
There are many precedents in Islamic history when Muslims have been barred from performing Hajj either because of civil wars or pandemics. However, the travel restrictions, specifically concerning Hajj, are unprecedented in the recent history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since its establishment in 1932.
The Economic Significance Of Hajj & How Many People Went To Hajj This Summer
In addition to this, Umrah and Hajj are also essential for the survival of 1.9 million inhabitants of Mecca, which heavily rely on them to make a living. Moreover, 45 percent of the city’s residents are non-Saudi and had permanently migrated to Saudi Arabia to generate revenue out of the activities revolving pilgrimage. In a nutshell, for a considerable length of time, the city has pulled in tourists who visit to offer pilgrimage, adding significantly to its economy. Still not satisfied regarding How Many People Went To Hajj This Summer? Lets continue with more facts.
The Economic Impact Of Scaled-Back Hajj In The Year 2022
The move to scale-back Hajj in 2022 because of the pandemic badly hit Riyadh’s Vision 2030 plans, as the monarchical regime in the country had started maneuvering to diversify the oil-based revenue. The government had plans to utilize the potential of the tourism industry to maximize revenue generation.
This could not have accomplished without decisive initiatives of bringing private investment to the Hajj and Umrah services. Hajj and Umrah are basic to its travel industry development system: the Kingdom expected to expand inbound Hajj guests from 1.8 million in 2019 to 4.5 million by 2030, and inbound Umrah guests from 6.2 million in 2019 to 30 million by 2030. However, the scenario changed entirely and the country had to introduce travel restrictions to ensure the safety of its citizens. Therefore, the Hajj and Umrah revenue sharply declined this year which is a significant blow to the economy as well. In addition to this, inhabitants of the country also experienced peculiar economic losses.
Ray of Hope
Though the country remained under strict travel curbs during 2020, yet there are eminent chances of Hajj to be undertaken with unprecedented zeal and zest in the upcoming years. The statement is not a toothless one. The spread of Covid-19 has already been slowed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it can be anticipated that Hajj will be performed by a much larger number of people in the next year if the situation continues to get normal.