Hajj Scaled-Down Over Virus Concerns
The annual Hajj pilgrimage usually attracts over 2.5 million Muslims. This year, only 1,000 visitors will be allowed to make the pilgrimage. The 2020 Hajj is taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The event generally attracts worshipers from around the world however this year, only those living in Saudi Arabia, where the event takes place, will be allowed to partake. Pilgrims will be required to wear masks and social distance. The participants will also be subject to temperature checks and will dine in small groups. In addition, they will wear electronic wristbands to track their movements. Finally, pebbles, traditionally picked up along the way to symbolize the casting of evil, have been cleaned and pre-bagged.
The Hajj is a pilgrimage that follows the route that the Prophet Muhammad walked over 1,400 years ago. It starts in the holy city of Mecca and is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an obligation for able-bodied Muslims to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime.
Blake is a writer focused on non-profits and trade industries. He has told the stories of countless peacebuilders while covering international development with the nonprofit Search for Common Ground. He is a graduate of the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.