Makkah: After Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage, Muslims all over the world are speculating that the outbreak of coronavirus may impact the annual Hajj pilgrimage too.
Hajj 2020: Uncertainty prevails
Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Minister had also asked Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage amid uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the authorities of Saudi Arabia are yet to announce whether they will proceed with this year’s Hajj, scheduled for the end of July.
If the authorities decide to suspend Hajj this year, it will not be first time when the pilgrimage was disrupted.
Earlier too, Hajj pilgrimage was disrupted due to various reasons.
Here is the history of disruptions
930 AD: Hajj was suspended for 10 years after Shite Qarmatians attacked pilgrims.
968 AD: The pilgrimage was suspended due to the outbreak of disease.
1000 AD: High cost of living kept Egyptians away from Hajj.
1029 AD: Pilgrims from Egypt and East did not come to perform Hajj.
1030 AD: Partial suspension of Hajj.
1039 AD: Iraqis, Egyptians, north Arabians did not perform Hajj due to fear and insecurity.
1099 AD: Muslims failed to reach Makkah due to conflict across Muslim world.
1168 AD: Egytians did not perform Hajj.
1256-1260 AD: Due to tensions and conflicts, no one out Hijaz region performed Hajj.
1798-1801 AD: Muslims did not perform Hajj due to Napolean’s Egypt and Syria campaigns.
It may be noted that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) had said, “if you hear of an outbreak of a plague in a land, do not enter it”.
After the outbreak of coronavirus, Saudi Arabia had suspended prayers inside all its mosques except the two holiest sites in Islam as it increased efforts to contain the new coronavirus.
It had also taken many other precautionary measures such as banning international travels, lockdowns, curfews etc.