In the year before the coronavirus, about three million gray-clad pilgrims from around the world flocked to the holiest sites in Islam to visit the Hajj under the blowing Saudi Arabian sun.
Due to the pandemic, it is not possible to hold large gatherings, only a few thousand pilgrims – Saudis and foreigners – are allowed to gather on the Mount of Mercy in the plains of Arafat this year to perform the most important ritual. They have a common ground.
“Everyone will pray that this pandemic will end and that all people in the world will see better months after all the suffering caused by the coronavirus,” said Ammar Khaled, a 29-year-old Indian pilgrim working in the IT field. professional in Jeddah.
Over the years, the kingdom has spent billions of dollars to ensure the security of one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.
This year, the challenge is to maintain the Hajj, a lifetime duty that every able-bodied Muslim can afford and a key source of government revenue safe from COVID-19.
For the first time in modern history, the number of pilgrims has dropped dramatically to ensure that measures of social isolation are observed.
Minister Hajj said the number of pilgrims would be around 1,000 in June, but no official figure was given to those performing the ritual this week. Some local media reported about 10,000 people.
Saudi Arabia’s health and safety professionals, who are at the forefront of the fight against the disease, make up about 30 per cent of all the remaining people, with the rest of the 160 nationalities living in the kingdom.
The mask, a stone structure that is the most sacred in Islam and is followed by Muslims, was prayed by pilgrims wearing masks in small groups of 50 people, each at a safe distance and accompanied by a health professional watching their movements.
Unlike last year, when they swung towards the Kaaba, pilgrims are not allowed to touch a simple stone cube building covered in black cloth and wrapped in Arabic patterns on golden silk.
The workers disinfected the structure, placing incense on their walls and incense, smelling Oud perfume, a popular Arab sweet and woody scent, and carrying incense as they moved around the Grand Mosque.
Instead, the Grand Mosque in Mecca was spread over 3,500 workers to clean it up using 54,000 liters (11,888 gallons) of disinfectant and 1,050 liters (277 gallons) of air fresheners.
The mosque floor was scrubbed 10 times a day, previously three times.