Different ceremonies of Hajj this year        

Around a 1,000 people will perform the annual Islamic rite this year due to restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The annual Hajj pilgrimage is set to start in the Muslim holy city of Mecca under restrictions that have prevented millions from attending.

Around 1,000 people already in the kingdom will perform this year’s pilgrimage due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 16.4 million people globally and killed more than 650,000.

The six-day long Islamic rite will start on the evening of Tuesday July 28th and last for six days after. It will culminate with the Islamic holiday of Eid al Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and every able bodied Muslim, who can afford it, is expected to carry out the rite within their lifetime. Across the world, Muslims save up for decades for a chance to be able to participate in the pilgrimage and usually the Hajj draws around two million people a year.

For Muslims it symbolises the story of the Prophet Ibrahim —also known as Abraham to Christians and Jews — who is believed to have built God’s abode on Earth, the Kaaba, and was willing to sacrifice his son on God’s command.

Of the thousand pilgrims expected to take part in the 2020 pilgrimage, 70 percent will be foreigners and 30 percent will be made up of Saudi citizens.  Foreigners allowed to attend the Hajj must already be residents of Saudi Arabia.

Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, numbers will have to be restricted and social distancing and sanitation measures will be put into effect during the pilgrimage. Pebbles used for the ‘stoning of the devil’ ceremony will be sanitised and handed to pilgrims, and no pilgrims will be allowed to touch the Kaaba or kiss the black stone at its corner – both of which are regular customs during the Hajj.

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