Aidiladha is all about sacrifices.
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With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging across the globe, it appears that Muslims around the world would be celebrating another Hari Raya in moderation.
Here at home, standard operating procedures (SOP) have been put in place to ensure that celebrations can still go on safely.
This time around, the public would get to enjoy more of the holidays with fewer restrictions during the current Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period compared to the previous nationwide lockdown during Aidilfitri.
Malaysians are still reminded to rigorously abide by Covid-19 in order to curb the spread of the virus.
The novel coronavirus has also forced the annual hajj pilgrimage, one of the largest mass gatherings on the planet, to be scaled down.
This year will mark the first time in modern history that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, custodians of Islam’s two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah, would be placing drastic limits on hajj participation.
Considered one of the five main pillars in the Islamic faith, the hajj pilgrimage is a sacred ritual expected of every physically and financially able Muslim, at least once in their lives.
In 2019, it was reported that over 2.4 million Muslims had traveled to the kingdom to perform the hajj, with some 1.8 million of those pilgrims coming from overseas.
2020 sees the pilgrimage being reduced to the attendance of just around 1,000 Saudi citizens and people from other nationalities who are already residing there.
Where pilgrims usually stand shoulder to shoulder in the desert, regardless of status and creed, in the name of God. This year, strict guidelines set in place to allow for the religious ritual to be performed safely.
Part of the “new normal” hajj experience includes social distancing practices and mandatory masks rules for everyone at all times, as well as restrictions against touching the Kaabah, the holiest site in Islam.
The Saudi government is also said to have conducted rigorous screenings on pilgrims before they are allowed to enter the city of Makkah.
Senior citizens over the age of 65, children as well as those with chronic illnesses are banned from taking part in the ritual.
And there are also restrictions set for the holy pilgrimage sites of Mina, Muzdalifah and Mount Arafat, where only pilgrims would be allowed access to the areas throughout the week-long event.
As of date, Saudi Arabia has reported more than 270,000 cases of Covid-19 including over 2,800 deaths.
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