Experts evaluated the effects of the hajj in Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of coronavirus
Pilgrimage to Islamic shrines may not take place for the first time since the 18th century
In connection with the situation around a dangerous pandemic of a new type, the Saudi authorities urged Muslims to wait for preparations for the great Hajj, the traditional annual pilgrimage to the main shrines of Islam in Mecca and Medina, which should begin this year at the end of July. The kingdom was preparing to receive about 2 million pilgrims. Experts estimated the likelihood of the complete cancellation of one of the key events for the entire Islamic world.
“Imagine for a second what will happen if this unfortunate virus begins to spread massively on the hajj,” commented “MK”, Russian orientalist, an expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center Alexei Malashenko. – This will be a real tragedy for the entire Muslim world. I think that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed, who has the last word in the country, is a very modern person. He correctly assesses the current situation and certainly will not endanger the lives of millions of pilgrims from around the world.
The expert believes that many believers perceive the new epidemic as God’s punishment, and that is why they insist on it. But this is by no means necessary.
“If the pilgrimage still takes place, it will be real administrative stupidity,” the orientalist emphasizes. – And since in Islam the greatest value is a person who believes, he must be protected. Therefore, I’m just sure that the abolition of the Hajj is the right and inevitable decision. ”
Aleksei Malashenko admits that some very insignificant part of those who are called radicals and extremists can speculate on this topic. Some of them cite the example of 2002, when the so-called African epidemic, caused by the coronavirus MERS, was raging in the world. Hajj then took place.
“It is important to note that the Muslim establishment has absolutely sound thinking about the virus,” the expert said. – Its representatives are aware of the seriousness of the situation. They understand that if a pilgrimage suddenly takes place, then the consequences will certainly not be comforting. ”
According to Islamologist, President of the Institute of Religion and Politics Alexander Ignatenko, if the situation does not normalize in the near future, then the Hajj must be undone.
“I think that Allah will forgive this,” the expert noted. – As we know, Umra (small Hajj) has now been canceled and photos of the central square near the main Islamic sanctuary of the Kaaba are already appearing in social networks. She is completely empty. This fact indicates that there is awareness among the pilgrim. ”
In order to avoid the complete abolition of the Hajj, some Muslims suggest introducing special restrictions on those most vulnerable to the disease. These measures can affect older people, as well as those who suffer from chronic diseases.
“It will be unfair to those people who will be limited in their religious rights,” continues Alexander Ignatenko. – Do not do this. “I think that the entire Muslim Ummah must jointly endure this difficult period in anticipation of other better times that will certainly come.”
If the hajj at the appointed time is canceled, then this will be the first such case since 1798, the media write. Recall that, against the backdrop of the spread of a new type of pandemic, Saudi authorities have previously forbidden pilgrims to perform Umrah – a small pilgrimage to Mecca, which, unlike the great Hajj, takes place at any time of the year. In addition, two main mosques in Mecca and Medina have already been closed for visiting believers, in particular, the Al-Haram Mosque (Forbidden Mosque), in the courtyard of which is the main shrine of Islam, the Kaaba.
Last week, the country’s authorities closed a number of large cities, where most cases of infected were recorded. The total number of cases of coronavirus in Saudi Arabia is more than one and a half thousand, ten people have died.
Experts evaluated the effects of the hajj in Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of coronavirus, Experts evaluated the effects of the hajj in Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of coronavirus, Experts evaluated the effects of the hajj in Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of coronavirus, Experts evaluated the effects of the hajj in Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of coronavirus,