Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Minister of Religion Fachrul Razi has confirmed that the Indonesian Government cancelled the departure of pilgrims in 1441 Hijr/2020.
The policy was taken by the government by considering the safety of pilgrims amid the lingering novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I today issued a Decree of the Minister of Religion (KMA) Number 494 of 2020 concerning the Cancellation of the Departure of Hajj Pilgrims on organizing the hajj in 1441H/2020,” the minister told media on a teleconference in Jakarta on Tuesday.
The Minister said in addition to economic and physical aspects, health, safety and security of pilgrims must be guaranteed and prioritized from embarkation, and during travel to their arrivals in the Holy Land.
According to Fachrul, the decision to cancel the hajj departure had already been made through an in-depth study.
The COVID-19 has hit almost all countries in the world, including Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, so that it can threaten the safety of pilgrims.
“The religion itself teaches that protecting the soul is an obligation that must be prioritized. These all become the basis for consideration in making the policy, “he said.
The Ministry of Religion has conducted a literature review and collected a number of data and information on the implementation of the hajj during such a pandemic in the past.
The study shows that the organization of the Hajj during an infectious outbreak had resulted in a human tragedy causing tens of thousands of hajj pilgrims were victims.
In 1814 for example, the outbreak occurred; in 1837 and 1858 there were epidemics; in 1892 there was cholera epidemic; and in 1987 there was an outbreak of meningitis.
In 1947 Minister of Religion Fathurrahman Kafrawi issued a Ministry of Religion Decree No. 4/1947 on the termination of hajj in a time of war.
In addition to safety issues, the decision to cancel the hajj pilgrimage was also made because until now the Government of Saudi Arabia has not opened the access to the hajj pilgrimage services 1441 Hijr/2020.
As a result, the Government of Indonesia does not have enough time to prepare for the implementation of guidance, service and protection of pilgrims. All these preparations must be made to guarantee that pilgrims can hold worship safely and comfortably according to the Shari’a.
“Time continues to run and getting tight. Our initial plan was for the departure of the first flying group on June 26. This means that preparations for visas, flights and services in Saudi Arabia are just a few days away. Those do not yet include the quarantine requirement 14 days before departure and upon arrival. In fact, there is no clarity about access to services from Saudi Arabia until now and about time when it will open,” he said.
“If pilgrims are forced to leave, there is a huge risk regarding the safety of the soul and the difficulty of worship. Saudi Arabia has yet to open access,” added the minister.
The cancellation of the pilgrim departure applies to all Indonesian citizens. In this way, pilgrims also use the government’s hajj quota, both regular and special ones including those who will use the mujamalah or furada Hajj visa (non-quota).
“So, this year there will be no hajj departure from Indonesia for all Indonesian citizens,” explained the minister.
Reporting by Indonesia Window