Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Saudi Arabia announced a gradual resumption of the umrah pilgrimage (the minor hajj) and visits to the Two Holy Mosques with a limited number of pilgrims starting October 4, 2020, the Saudi Press News Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday (Sep 22), citing sources at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The ministry source said the Kingdom government had approved the possibility of resumption the umrah and visits to the Two Holy Mosques in stages by implementing health precautions.
The decision was taken based on authorities report regarding the development of the corona virus in the kingdom.
The aspirations of Muslims at home and abroad to perform umrah also became the basis for considering that decision.
In the first stage, umrah is permitted for citizens and expatriates living in Saudi Arabia with a capacity of 30 percent starting October 4, which means 6,000 worshipers per day are allowed to perform prayers at the Grand Mosque.
In the second phase, citizens and expats living in the kingdom are allowed to perform umrah, visit Rawdah at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and pray at the Two Holy Mosques, starting October 18, with a capacity of 75 percent, or nearly 15,000 worshipers per day.
Meanwhile, 40,000 worshipers per day are allowed to perform worships at the Grand Mosque.
In the third phase, expatriates will be allowed to perform umrah starting November 1 with a capacity of 20,000 pilgrims, and 60,000 people per day to perform worships.
Those figures will continue until the official end of the Coronavirus pandemic or the official announcement that the danger is over.
The arrival of umrah performers and visitors from outside the kingdom will be gradually opened from the countries that are free from health risks related to the Coronavirus pandemic, the source added.
The fourth phase will allow the performance of umrah, visit and prayers by citizens and expatriates from inside and outside the kingdom, at 100 percent of the normal capacity of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, when the competent authority decides that the risks of the pandemic has disappeared.
Meanwhile, the entry of pilgrims, worshipers and visitors will be regulated through the application of Etamarna, which will be launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, aiming at implementing the health standards and controls approved by the Ministry of Health and the competent authorities.
The source called upon pilgrims, worshipers and visitors to adhere to preventive measures and apply the health instructions and requirements, including wearing face masks, keeping a safe distance, and avoiding a physical contact.
The source affirmed the kingdom’s keenness to enable the pilgrims from inside and outside the Kingdom to perform the rituals in a safe and healthy manner fulfilling the preventative requirements and spatial distancing in order to ensure human safety and protection from the threats of this pandemic, and achieve the objectives of the Islamic law in preserving human lives.
The source explained that the stages announced in this statement will be subjected to continuous evaluation, according to the developments of the pandemic.
Reporting by Indonesia Window