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Indonesia Cancels Hajj Due to COVID-19

There have been speculations recently on whether the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage will be canceled this year or not, due to the coronavirus pandemic

In April, a Saudi official asked Muslims intending to perform Hajj this year to delay making plans, hinting at the possibility of calling off the Hajj this year.

With no official decision yet on this, Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has cancelled hajj pilgrimage this year, The Jakarta Post reported.

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With more than 27,549 cases and over 1,663 deaths to date, Indonesia is taking extensive measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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Fachrul Razi, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, said the decision to cancel hajj this year was made due to concerns over the coronavirus and ongoing travel restrictions.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Indonesians go to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj. This year, the quota for Indonesian pilgrims was 221,000, with more than 90 percent already registered.

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Dewi, an employee in Jakarta and registered to perform hajj this year, said she has waited for six years. Yet, she said that she had made peace with the news.

“If that is the decision, I will accept it,” said Dewi, who did not want to give her full name.

“After all I believe that everything happens with God’s permission.” 

Every year, Makkah sees 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.

Some 2.5 million faithful traveled to Saudi from across the world in 2019 to take part in the Hajj rituals.