After temporarily halting pilgrimage last year during the COVID crisis, Saudi Arabia has allowed pilgrims for Umrah this year. According to reports, only pilgrims who are immunized will be eligible for permits to perform the pilgrimage and to attend prayers in the Grand Mosque during Ramadan, the Hajj and Umrah ministry announced earlier this month.
In a statement on its Twitter account, the ministry said that there are five steps that need to be followed by foreign Umrah pilgrims before performing their rituals.
All foreign pilgrims must move to the Inaya (care) Center in Makkah six hours before performing Umrah, verify the status of their vaccination, wear digital wristbands, present their bracelets upon arrival at the Al-Shubaika Assembly Center to verify the data and permits and abide by the date and time assigned to them to perform Umrah.
Foreign pilgrims are required to spend three days in quarantine in their respective hotels in Makkah after their arrival in the Kingdom.
Worshipers with a mask for protection, entered the Grand Mosque in Makkah and performed the obligations of Umrah. Social distancing was strictly followed by the pilgrims while performing the ritual of circling the K’aaba along specifically designated social-distancing paths.
According to the Hajj and Umrah ministry, three categories of pilgrims will now be considered immunized:
1. Those who have received two doses of corona virus vaccine
2. Those who were administered a single dose at least 14 days prior and
3. Those who have recovered from the infection.
The policy has effectively raised the Grand Mosque’s capacity during Ramadan to accommodate 50,000 Umrah pilgrims and 100,000 worshipers per day, according to state media. A fine of 10,000 riyals will be imposed for anyone who is caught coming to perform Umrah without permission in Ramadan, and 1,000 riyals for anyone trying to enter Masjid Al Haram without proper permissions due to the strict safety policy.
Twitter handles were eager to share images of Muslim pilgrims in Makkah, commending on the precautions being taken, while many wishing Muslims on Ramadan too.
Even the twitter handle of the Grand Mosque had this to share.
The Holy month of Ramadan, signals the refresher’s month of the faithful. Starting before sunrise and ending at sunset, Muslims fast every day for a month. The perfect time to find your inner peace, Muslims practice self-discipline (not hogging on food even when you are famished), compassion for fellow-beings (knowing how hunger feels like), respect for your body (controlled eating does that to you) and most importantly focusing on all things positive.
The month of sharing is also a time when Muslims go on pilgrimage to Makkah and the government of Saudi Arabia made certain that all norms were followed to the dot keeping in mind the safety of the pilgrims and the local population.
We at theBrew.ae wish all our readers Ramadan Mubarak.