Did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts in combatting the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring a safe Hajj pilgrimage for its residents this year? The heightened precautionary measures, limited number or pilgrims and social distancing norms helped make sure that Hajj pilgrims were able to perform all rituals in the safest way possible. The result – None of the 10,000 pilgrims tested positive for COVID-19!
As Saudi authorities start preparations for the next Umrah season, we have drafted a short guide for pilgrims hoping to visit the Holy city of Mecca and Medina in the future.
"The people who come to perform Hajj or Umrah are the guests of Allah because they visit His House on His Call; therefore, Allah grants them what they ask for"
By now, it is widely understood that the number of COVID-19 positive cases can be controlled by following the right set of precautions. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health recommends the following precautionary measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading:
If you, your family members or fellow pilgrims are experiencing typical COVID-19 symptoms (respiratory symptoms such as cough and difficulty breathing, or fever and tiredness), you must follow the below-listed steps:
Awareness about the COVID-19 infection, its symptoms, how it spreads and how it can be prevented – Is the first step towards ensuring your safety while you are on the pilgrimage. While the virus made its first entry into various countries including Saudi Arabia through travelers who had either been to China or come into contact with infected individuals, it is now spreading internally across the domestic population as well.
The Saudi authorities have employed various measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 such as inbound travel restrictions, implementation of social distancing norms, and equipping healthcare facilities with the equipment needed to safely combat the disease. However, each resident or pilgrim must also take personal precautions to minimize the spread of the virus.
It is known that COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can contract the virus not only through being in direct contact with an infected individual, but also when you come in contact with a contaminated surface. From observing a high level of personal hygiene and avoiding crowds, to seeking medical help when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, timely and prompt action can go a long way in the fight against this pandemic.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “(performing) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous `Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (i.e. one accepted) is nothing but Jannah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Commentary: Performing Umrah is an expiation for all types of sins, whether major or minor, because the wording of the Hadith isn’t specifying either of them. However, Mu’tamars should keep in their minds the following two main conditions for the acceptance Umrah:
1. To have complete sincerity (Ikhlas) by performing Umrah rituals solely for the sake of Allah the Almighty.
2. To perform Umrah the same way it is mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) May Allah the Almighty accept your Umrah, Ameen.