Indonesia Cancels Hajj Again Due to COVID-19

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has cancelled hajj pilgrimage for the second year in a row due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The religious affairs minister announced the decision on Thursday, June 3, Reuters reported.

“Due to the pandemic and for the safety of the pilgrims, the government has decided that this year it won’t allow Indonesian pilgrims to go again,” Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said in a statement.

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The decision comes as Saudi Arabia has not yet announced the hajj quota for this year.

“It’s not just Indonesia…no countries have received quotas, because the memorandum of understanding has not been signed,” he said, adding that pilgrims who had paid hajj fees will be pilgrims next year.

Before the pandemic, Makkah used to see millions of Muslims from around the world pouring in to perform Hajj.

Hajj ceremonies symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith. It commemorates the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform Hajj at least once in a lifetime.

In 2020, Hajj was like no other due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced Saudi government to cut the number of pilgrims to only 1000 to curb the spread of the deadly virus.