The decision by Saudi Hajj Authorities to bar international pilgrims from about 160 other countries, including Nigeria for the 2021 Hajj has not gone down well with some Nigerian Muslims, who have expressed their disappointment over the news.
Muslim News had on Saturday reported that the Kingdom had cancelled international pilgrims from performing the Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, for a second consecutive year, due to emergence of new variants of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the statement released by the Ministry of Health, the Kingdom said only 60,000 of its residents living within the kingdom will perform the 5-day religious exercise.
But many Muslims who aren’t satisfied with the development have been expressing their displeasure, saying that there is no justification for the kingdom to bar international pilgrims who have taken their first and second jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier in March, Saudi Arabia’s health ministry made it mandatory for intending pilgrims to get two doses of COVID-19 vaccinations before arriving in the kingdom for the Hajj, which starts on July 17, 2021.
A Nigerian, Salim Musa Umar said, shutting the doors completely for those intending pilgrims after requiring them to take COVID-19 vaccines is not only condemnable, but very inappropriate.
He said, “The Saudi Authorities need to be more serious and demonstrate capacity. The fear of COVID-19 has crippled many and a stitch in time saves nine! Saudi Arabia should know that performing Hajj is a pillar of Islam which every Muslim is entitled to if he can afford and Saudi Arabia is just a custodian of the holy sites. All Muslims are stakeholders irrespective of where they live.”
Another Nigerian Muslim, Ghali Bello, said, “I don’t see the reasons why the Saudi authorities will not allow other nations whose citizens have been vaccinated to perform Hajj. Those that have received their double shots vaccinations can be allowed into the kingdom with confirmation certificates.”
Speaking further, Bello said, “we cannot allow ourselves to be defeated by this pandemic forever. Moreso, by opening up hajj activities, pious people may pour into the sacred worship sites and pray to Almighty Allah to grant us relief from this disease.”
Another Nigerian, Basheerah Junaid said, “People have been vaccinated yet, they deprive them of performing Hajj this year again. They should please reconsider other outsiders too. Saudi government, please consider outsiders too.
Muslims all over the world are not happy with this conclusion.”
Also speaking, Busari Adam Adeyemi said, “So, the vaccine is not working again or what is the reason for the cancellation of this year’s Hajj? Some people were denied last year, we agreed because of the epidemic, but the vaccine is available this year. ARE THOSE VACCINES NOT EFFECTIVE?”
But the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has accepted in good fate the decision by Saudi Arabia’s authorities to exlude Nigerians and other international pilgrims from the Hajj 2021, describing it as Allah’s divine design.
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