Of which the most prominent is receiving a vaccine against Corona.. Strict controls on performing prayers in Ramadan | Lifestyle
A few days separate us from the beginning of the month of Ramadan, which this year falls under exceptional circumstances, with the outbreak of the new Corona virus (Covid-19) and the introduction of home isolation in many Islamic countries.
And after Corona was declared a global pandemic, it became clear that religious rituals are among the aspects of life most affected by the spread of the contagion, including Hajj and Umrah, on which changing restrictions are imposed from day to day.
Umrah has a special place for every Muslim man and woman, because it is a spiritual journey and a great opportunity to escape from the pressures of everyday life, return and get closer to God, follow His commands and avoid His prohibitions.
However, the current conditions and challenges associated with the epidemic have prevented many from performing this great duty and for the first time in modern times we see the Great Mosque of Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia empty of worshipers, as well as the decisions to suspend death for a certain period and postpone reservations for those who want to perform the Hajj.
The vaccine is a prerequisite
However, with the start of vaccine distribution and the precautionary measures taken by the relevant Saudi authorities internally and externally at their land, sea and air borders, the Umrah rites continued under certain conditions.
At the beginning of November, Saudi Arabia began receiving pilgrims from outside the Kingdom, after a break of almost 7 months due to the spread of the Corona virus.
A few days ago, the Saudi authorities tightened the restrictions on performing Umrah, as only people who have received the vaccine against the coronavirus will be allowed to perform Umrah and pray in the Great Mosque of Makkah Al-Mukarramah during the holy month of Ramadan.
Applications “Tawakkalna” and “Umrah”.
In order to perform the Umrah ritual, the person who wishes must submit an application through two smartphone applications, the first of which is the “Tawakkalna” application to ensure that the applicant is not infected with the corona virus, and the second application is “Umrah”, record the data and choose a date for performing umrah or praying, then obtain a permit that enables performing umrah, and the current regulation on umrah reservations allows for a permit to be issued every 15 days.
Age authorized to perform umrah
The age of those authorized to worship is from 18 to 70 years, and it is not possible to issue permission to worship to those under 18 or over 70, even if they have been vaccinated.
It is also not possible to add children as a companion, while the user is allowed to add a mother as a companion.
The most important conditions for performing umrah
These are the most important conditions set for performing Umrah:
- A pilgrim who dies must be a healthy immunized person who has received two doses of the Corona virus vaccine, or an immunized person who has spent 14 days after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, or an immunized person who has recovered from the infection.
- The age group for performing Umrah outside Saudi Arabia should be from 18 to 50 years and for those inside it from 18 to 70 years.
- Submitting a PCR test confirmation with a negative result proving that the pilgrims are not infected with the new coronavirus.
- That the examination certificate “BCR” is issued by a reliable laboratory from the pilgrim’s country, provided that no more than 72 hours have passed from the time of sample collection to the time of arrival in Saudi Arabia.
- Pre-registration for prayer, prayer in the Great Mosque, visit to the Prophet’s Mosque and prayer in the venerable kindergarten, in accordance with the approved controls and capacity, through the mobile application.
- Flight reservations must be confirmed for departure and return according to the approved schedule for each Umrah pilgrim.
- Health isolation upon arrival in Saudi Arabia for 3 days.
Beginning Dies according to precautions
Once all these conditions are met, the pilgrim will be ready to begin the Umrah ritual, which he will perform according to precautionary and health measures, and in a completely different way than before.
When pilgrims enter the Grand Mosque in Mecca to perform Umrah, the tour will begin from the outside inward in parallel lines, and will move from each path to the path in a spiral fashion.
Then the Umrah pilgrims are guided from the end to the Masaa on a path equipped at an angle of 45 degrees, to avoid collision or interference with other paths.
Elderly people and people with disabilities will have special paths near the Holy Kaaba. The first track for vehicles is 155 meters long, accommodates 45 vehicles, and the tour takes 10-15 minutes, and the second is 145 meters, which is the closest. to the Kaaba, and accommodates 50 people. For elderly people who do not need a wheelchair, to make it easier for them to move around.
Currently, the possibility of issuing new permits to perform Umrah during the Mubarak month of Ramadan is closed for those who did not register before the 18th of Sha’ban, which corresponds to the end of last March, because that was the last date for registration through the “Umrahna” application.
New conditions for the rest of 2021
However, Saudi Arabia has set new conditions for Hajj and Umrah during the rest of 2021, the most important of which are:
- The need for domestic and foreign pilgrims to obtain doses of the Corona virus vaccine before the beginning of the month of Zul-Hijjat.
- The vaccine for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must be approved by the World Health Organization.
- The second dose of the Corona vaccine should be about a week before entering the Kingdom.
- All those deployed and working on the Hajj must receive two doses of the vaccine approved in the Kingdom against Corona, at least one week before the start of the task.
- Masks must be worn by all pilgrims and workers at all times.
- Demonstration of a “negative” certified laboratory test for the virus 72 hours prior to arrival in the Kingdom.
- Quarantine of 72 hours after arrival in the Kingdom.
- The quarantine period includes a re-inspection of the approved laboratory after 48 hours by the contracting party with the Pilgrim field service provider.
Enormous burdens before the pilgrims
In 2020, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was forced to suspend Umrah rituals during the Corona pandemic, in order to preserve the safety of citizens and residents of their countries, as well as visitors performing Umrah.
However, after proceeding with the process of performing Umrah, many in various Islamic countries – including the State of Qatar – were unable to perform this duty, either due to many obstacles related to health restrictions or increased financial burden.
And Ibrahim Al-Ibrahimi – who is the owner of one of the Umrah campaigns in Qatar – explains that everyone rejoiced well after the reconciliation and the opening of the borders, but the Corona epidemic created great burdens for the pilgrims, whether material. or psychologically.
Al-Ibrahimi tells Al-Jazeera Net that a pilgrim is required to pay double the amount of money to perform Umrah in light of the precautionary measures, in addition to the psychological pressures associated with the fear of contracting the epidemic.
He adds that the private transport bus reduced the capacity to 20 instead of 50 people, the room from 4 to 2 people, and the tent from 12 to 4 people, in addition to the increase in air ticket prices, which made Umrah trips between Qataris limited to single trips only.
Catch up with the Hajj season
On the other hand, the executive director of one of the Umrah campaigns, Majdi Abdel Hamid, expresses to Al-Jazeera Net his hope to catch up with the Hajj season and start many trips, after completing the vaccination of the largest possible percentage of the population with the Corona virus vaccine.
And he confirms that most of the Hajj and Umrah offices have started procedures to resume their activities by communicating with hotels and places of residence in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah to take prices and start the necessary arrangements to resume campaigns from Doha , but they are awaiting the approvals and completion of the entire equipment from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health and Endowments and Islamic Affairs, as well as the Saudi authorities.