Faizel Patel – 16/072021
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host another downsized hajj from Saturday, with only residents fully vaccinated against the coronavirus permitted and overseas Muslim pilgrims including South Africans barred for a second year.
However, a couple from Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal will be performing Hajj this year as the desire to be in the holy lands envelopes Muslim communities across the globe.
The kingdom seeks to repeat last year’s success that saw no virus outbreak during the five-days of Hajj.
The Hajj Ministry is allowing 60,000 residents of Saudi Arabia to participate, higher than in 2020 but drastically lower than in normal times.
Speaking to Radio Islam Zakariyya Sayed originally from Stanger and now residing in Saudi Arabia says the Kingdom is extremely well organised and prepared to host this year’s Hajj despite the small number of pilgrims.
“Alhamdulillah you know the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia is really jacked up. They have an application for all the Hujjaj and this application tells you exactly the locations that you need to be at. It tells you the time you need to be at, it gives you a detailed itinerary right down all the way to basic daily meal plans. So everything Hujjaj would need, all he needs to do is download an application and he’ll find everything on there.”
Sayed says Saudi citizens and expats from different countries were given the opportunity to apply for Hajj.
“We have friends from England, from different countries who are also joining us for hajj. We’re on these WhatsApp groups and we do know of South Africans that are flying in from Dammam, Riyad, Khobar and I don’t personally know them, but I do know that there are South Africans going to be performing Hajj this year Insha’Allah.”
Hujjaj will begin to arrive on Saturday, a day before Hajj begins.
Earlier this month, the hajj ministry said it was working on the “highest levels of health precautions” in light of the pandemic and the emergence of new variants.
Listen to the interview with Zakariyya Sayed