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Singaporeans’ pilgrimage to the haj deferred for second year in a row: Muis

SINGAPORE — With the spread of new coronavirus strains in recent months, Singaporeans’ haj pilgrimage to Mecca will be deferred for a second year in a row to safeguard the health and safety of pilgrims, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said.

Singaporeans’ pilgrimage to the haj deferred for second year in a row: Muis

Muslim pilgrims going around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca on Aug 2, 2020, the final day of the annual Haj pilgrimage.

  • Singaporeans’ haj pilgrimage will be deferred for a second year in a row
  • This is due to the spread of new coronavirus strains
  • Haj package deposits paid by pilgrims last year, which had been carried over for the haj this year, will be refunded
  • The move is to allay concerns over the financial risk involved in performing the haj this year

 

SINGAPORE — With the spread of new coronavirus strains in recent months, Singaporeans’ haj pilgrimage to Mecca will be deferred for a second year in a row to safeguard the health and safety of pilgrims, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said.

The Fatwa Committee, which comprises senior religious scholars who provide religious rulings and guidance, also supports the decision, Muis said in a statement on Thursday (May 27).

In explaining its decision, the council said that an increasing number of countries are reporting new waves of infections and the coming months will likely remain challenging.

 “While many countries have commenced vaccinating their populations, vaccination rates in many countries continue to be low at this point.

“The evolving nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely curtailed our mobility to travel and this will remain so for some time.”

It noted that the Government’s travel advisory is to defer travel except for essential or compassionate reasons and that many other countries still have travel restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Muis said that Saudi Arabia will put good control measures in place should the haj take place, but there would be many other factors beyond its control that could affect the health and safety of pilgrims.

So far, there has also been no official word from Saudi Arabia on whether pilgrims will be allowed to perform the haj this year, it added.

The annual haj pilgrimage typically sees more than two million people from all over the world gather at the holy city of Mecca in July.

Last year, only about 1,000 pilgrims who were residents of Saudi Arabia attended the haj due to travel restrictions imposed by Saudi Arabia on international travellers.

Muis had also deferred to this year the pilgrimage of 900 people from Singapore who were supposed to perform the haj last year.

In response to TODAY's queries, it said that this same group of pilgrims are the ones who will have to defer their pilgrimage this year. 

REFUND OF DEPOSITS

The council said in its statement that it had consulted with the Association of Muslim Travel Agents and all haj general service agents and had come to the decision that deposits paid by pilgrims last year, which had been carried over for the haj this year, will be refunded.

“Muis is working with the Saudi Arabia authorities to facilitate the refund of deposits paid in Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims will be contacted by their respective haj general service agents within the fortnight with regards to their refund.”

Muis told TODAY that the total amount of deposit owed is confidential. 

It said that pilgrims will receive a letter from the council in early June regarding their refunds and because some general service agents have yet to receive their refunds for haj services in Saudi Arabia, pilgrims are advised to discuss the deposit repayment arrangement with their agents.

Muis hopes that this decision will allay the concerns of pilgrims and their families over the financial risks involved in performing the haj this year.

“This decision will also safeguard the health and well-being of our Singaporean pilgrims and the community at large from the risk of Covid-19 transmission.” 

Pilgrims who have questions may contact their respective haj general service agents. They may also call Muis at 6350 5371, 6350 5372 and 6350 5373 on weekdays between 9am and 5.30pm.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus Muis Haj Mecca pilgrimage

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