Saudi Arabia on Monday (July 20) announced that only around 1,000 pilgrims of various nationalities already in the Saudi Arabia would allow to perform a dramatically scaled-down hajj this year, as the country continues its battle against the surge in Coronavirus infections.
According to the report
, Hajj Minister Mohammad Benten said, "The number of pilgrims will be around 1,000, maybe less, maybe a little more. The number will not be in tens or hundreds of thousands this year."
The pilgrimage will be limited to those below 65 years of age, and with no chronic illnesses, Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah added further to the development.
Moreover, the pilgrims will be tested for Coronavirus before arriving in the holy city of Mecca and will be required to quarantine at home after the ritual, Rabiah added.
Saudi Arabia has not even cleared airs on what the selection process will be for this year's Hajj, which is scheduled to begin from July 31.
In the last year (2019), more than 2.5 million Muslims attended the five-day ritual of Hajj. Hajj is the most important pilgrimage for the Muslims; according to them, the ritual forms one of the main pillar of Islam.
The smaller year-round Umrah pilgrimage was also suspended in March earlier this year. Hosting the Hajj has been a matter of prestige for Saudi rulers, for whom the custodianship of Islam's holiest sites is their most powerful source of political legitimacy.