Hajj in the Corona-crisis: pilgrims at a distance

usually, it is the Management of the masses of people, the concern of the Saudi authorities of the head, when Muslims from all over the world visit for the annu

Hajj in the Corona-crisis: pilgrims at a distance

usually, it is the Management of the masses of people, the concern of the Saudi authorities of the head, when Muslims from all over the world visit for the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to the Holy sites of Islam in the Kingdom. About two and a half millions of pilgrims to it in normal times, every third person travels from abroad. This year, the year of the Corona-pandemic, is allowed only a fraction of it, in different Reports, the speech, the move to the five-day pilgrimage is from 1000 to 10,000 believers. And they all had to have previously been in Saudi Arabia. So 70 percent of this year's pilgrims, migrant workers from 160 countries, with the remaining 30 per cent are Saudi nationals.

Christoph Ehrhardt

a correspondent for the Arab countries, based in Beirut.

F. A. Z. Twitter

the pictures of The pilgrimage this year could, therefore, be unusual hardly. Where else, the people crowded around the ka'bah, push, fall short this year, pilgrims with the mouth-nose protection, where appropriate the safety distance along the drawn lines to the cubic, in black cloth-clad sanctuary. The roads to the Holy sites in Mecca as pilgrims accommodation, empty of people.

The authorities of the Kingdom, which was hit hard by the pandemic, have taken a variety of measures to make the pilgrimage, a spiritual highlight in the life of many Muslims to be a health risk. The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, every Muslim who can afford it and is physically able, must compete once in his life. Who is one of the few, which it is allowed this year, had to make before the start of a week in quarantine and a PCR Test, an acute infection with the Coronavirus to exclude. Also, he must during the pilgrimage again and again the body temperature, and after completion again for a week in quarantine issued.

the stay in the Holy places is strictly regulated. The white pilgrim's robe is sterilized, the pebbles for the ritual stoning of the devil are the same. Each pilgrim gets to the stones in a separate bag handed out. The water from the famous well of Zamzam the great mosque is pre-bottled. The pilgrims must circle the Kaaba in the courtyard of the mosque this year, but not to touch. According to the authorities, 3500 workers have been provided free of charge to clean the Grand mosque, 54000 litres of an environmentally friendly disinfection agent.

As difficult for many is the fact weighs to be able to not be in it, to show messages like this: A spokesman for the security authorities announced on Wednesday, it 224 people had been arrested who had tried to enter the Holy sites without a permit.

For Saudi Arabia, whose king bears the title "custodian of the two Holy sites", not the orientation of the pilgrimage is only one thing religious prestige, but also an important source of income. She brings every year several billion euros. For the first, in 1932, founded the Saudi state Hajj is like this is a drastic exception. But it has happened in history more often that the pilgrimage had to be cancelled due to armed raids, or epidemics. So widespread in the 19th century. Century, the Cholera fear and terror.

Updated Date: 31 July 2020, 09:20

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