When is Hajj 2020? Has Hajj been cancelled? All you need to know

3 April 2020, 06:12

Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba (Tawaf al-Wadaa), Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca
Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba (Tawaf al-Wadaa), Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. Picture: Getty

By Tobi Akingbade

British Muslims planning to take part in Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are being advised to delay their bookings due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

About two million Muslims from across the world normally take part in the annual pilgrimage. 

Required of all able-bodied Muslims to perform once in their lifetime, it is seen as a chance to wipe clean past sins and bring about greater humility and unity among Muslims.

But Saudi Arabia closed off Mecca and Medina to foreigners in February this year following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Here's the latest information on this year's pilgrimage.

Muslim pilgrims wear masks at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca
Muslim pilgrims wear masks at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. Picture: Getty

When is Hajj? 

Hajj 2020 will begin in the evening of July 28 and is expected to end in the evening of August 2. 

Has Hajj been cancelled? 

Technically, no.

But the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said pilgrims hoping to travel to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia should delay their bookings and “wait and see” how the situation develops.

The MCB’s statement comes after a Saudi official said people should “hold on to signing any agreements” to travel to the kingdom.

What happens if I have already booked?

For now, Harun Khan, the MCB’s secretary general, has urged Muslims to “exercise a degree of caution and wait and see what the situation is closer to the time.”

Mr Khan urged UK-based Hajj tour operators to reassure existing customers that their bookings are financially protected by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Atol scheme.

In a statement, he also advised tour operators who may suffer financial loss to contact the Government for support.

Are there Covid-19 cases in Saudi Arabia? 

There are currently more than 1,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and there have been 10 deaths from the disease in the kingdom so far.

The country has imposed a night-time curfew and suspended all inbound and outbound flights as it grapples with more than 1,500 confirmed coronavirus cases.

There have been 10 deaths from the disease in the kingdom so far.

The Middle East has more than 71,000 confirmed cases of the virus, most of those in Iran, and over 3,300 deaths.

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