The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia confirmed it has restricted the Hajj 2021 pilgrimage to citizens and residents and set a maximum of 60,000 pilgrims in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Aljazeera on June 12, 2021.
“Those wishing to perform the hajj must be free of chronic diseases and be vaccinated,” and between the ages of 18 and 65, the Hajj ministry said in a statement.
And the Council of Senior Scholars has voiced support for the decision, citing the move's contributions to saving lives.
In a statement issued on June 12th, the Council noted that the decision to limit the Hajj for this year (1442 H/ 2021 AD) is part of the coronavirus-containment measures and is aimed at ensuring that Hajj is performed in a safe manner, adding that the decision is in line in line with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings.
The statement cited the Holy Quran verses: "Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction" and a Hadith warning: “If there is a plague in a town, no one should leave it or go into it.”
Citing experts' warning that large gatherings increase the risk of coronavirus infections, the Council described the Saudi government's decision to limit this year's Hajj as reasonable, responsible, and highly needed to protect human lives and ensure safe Hajj.
Hajj and Umrah are religious pilgrimages to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Islamic religious doctrine dictates that every non-disabled adult Muslim who can afford to do so is obligated to make Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime.