Faizel Patel – 22/09/2020
The Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry has announced the gradual resumption of Umrah including the visitation of Masjid-un-Nabawi in Medina while taking the necessary health precautions to protect pilgrims.
In a statement on Twitter, the minsitry’s spokesperson says it took the decision following developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic including the desire of many Muslims in the Kingdom and across the globe who want to perform Umrah.
According to the spokesperson, the resumption of Umrah and visitation of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s Masjid will take place in various phases.
The first phase:
Allowing the performance Umrah for citizens and residents from within the Kingdom, starting from Sunday 17 Safar 1442 AH corresponding to 4 October 2020 at a rate of 30% (six thousand pilgrims) of the absorptive capacity that takes into account the health precautionary measures of the Haram.
The second phase:
Allowing the performance of Umrah, visitation and prayers for citizens and residents from within the Kingdom, starting from Sunday 1 Rabi` al-Awwal 1442 AH corresponding to 18 October 2020 at a rate of 75% (15,000 pilgrims and up to 40,000 worshipers / day) of the capacity that takes into account the health precautionary measures of the Haram including Masjid-un-Nabawi.
The third phase:
Permission to perform Umrah, visit and prayers for the citizens and residents from inside and outside the Kingdom, starting from Sunday 15 Rabi` al-Awwal corresponding to 1 November 2020 until the official announcement of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic or elimination of danger, by 100% (20 thousand pilgrims / day) while taking into account the precautionary measures of the Haram and the Prophet (PBUH)’s Masjid.
The Ministry’s spokesperson also says the arrival of pilgrims and visitors from outside the Kingdom will be gradual and from the countries in which the Health Ministry deems that there are no health risks related to COVID-19.
The fourth phase:
Permitting the performance of Umrah, visiting and prayers for citizens and residents from inside and outside the Kingdom, at a rate of 100% of the natural capacity of the Haram and Masjid-un-Nabawi when authories decides that the risks of the pandemic are minimal or have subsided.
The spokesperson says the entry of pilgrims, worshipers and visitors will be regulated through the Umrahna app which will be launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, with the aim of enforcing the health standards and controls approved by the Ministry of Health and the authorities.
The Interior Minsitry has called on pilgrims, worshipers and visitors to adhere to preventive measures, to apply health instructions and requirements, wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and not to touch, stressing the Kingdom’s keenness to keep the pilgrims from inside and outside the Kingdom safe.
“To establish the ritual in a safe and healthy manner, in a manner that fulfills the requirements of prevention and spatial separation necessary to ensure human safety and protect it from the threats of this pandemic, and to achieve the objectives of Islamic law in preserving the human soul.”
The spokesperson says the various stages will be subject to continuous evaluation, according to the developments of COVID-19 pandemic.