Saudi Arabia said it was curtailing this year’s hajj pilgrimage to only a small number of people already in the kingdom, rather than the millions who usually flock to Islam’s holiest sites, amid concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.
The hajj, the Muslim world’s most important religious pilgrimage, is considered a pillar of Islam and has been held since the seventh century in Mecca. All Muslims who are able to are required to make the journey at least once in their lifetimes.
The five-day event, which begins in late July this year, is a source of great political and religious prestige for Saudi Arabia, while also generating an estimated $8 billion in revenue for the kingdom each year.
The smaller umrah pilgrimage, which takes place in Mecca throughout the year, and international travel to and from the kingdom remain suspended.
Saudi Arabia said it was curtailing this year’s hajj pilgrimage to only a small number of people already in the kingdom, as it grapples with one of the largest confirmed coronavirus outbreaks in the Middle East https://t.co/peG8OT1WrC
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 22, 2020