NCMF still hopeful even for just a few Philippine pilgrims
By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL, Managing Editor
QUEZON CITY, Philippines: Intending Filipino pilgrims this year have no assurance they can perform their pilgrimage to Kaaba in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Hajj being one of the five pillars of Islam. The government however is hopeful for Filipino delegation can go on hajj no matter how limited it will be.
In a statement received by the Philippine Muslim Today, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah confirmed that hajj is going to take place this year 2020 (1441 H) but for limited number of pilgrims and only for nationalities already residing within the Kingdom.
The statement issued from Riyadh on Monday said limiting the number of pilgrims was because the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to more than 180 countries around the world, and that deaths related to COVID-19 have reached almost half a million and over 7 million cases have been confirmed globally.
It is “Likewise in accordance with what has been stressed by the Saudi Ministry of Health regarding the continued risks stemming from this pandemic and the lack of available vaccinations and a cure for those who have been infected by COVID-19 around the world,” said the statement.
The statement added this is also to preserve the security of global public health especially in light of the increase in the number of cases in most countries according to reports issued by global health organizations and institutions, and considering the risks of the disease and infections spreading in crowded gatherings where it is difficult to maintain safe social distancing among the individuals gathered.
The Ministry also advised pilgrims to take all necessary precautionary measures to protect pilgrims, including by suspending the entry of Umrah pilgrims while ensuring the safety of the pilgrims already present at the holy sites.
The Saudi decision has received much approbation from Islamic and international organizations in recognition of its wide contribution to fighting the virus globally and supporting the efforts of health organizations in limiting the spread of the deadly disease.
This decision is 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 is honored to serve millions of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims annually and it 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 Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said.
PHILIPPINE MUSLIM TODAY