The Haj Committee of India on Tuesday cancelled all applications scheduled for Haj 2021. The decision came after Saudi Arabia announced that it has decided to allow citizens and residents only to attend Haj 1442 in limited numbers.
"The Ministry of Haj and Umrah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia issued a statement informing that due to coronavirus pandemic conditions the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to allow citizens and residents inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only to attend Haj 1442 in limited numbers. International Haj has been cancelled. Hence, it has been decided by the Haj Committee of India that all the applications for Haj 2021 stand cancelled," it read.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced this year's hajj pilgrimage will be limited to no more than 60,000 people, all of them from within the kingdom, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The announcement by the kingdom came after it ran an incredibly pared-down pilgrimage last year over the virus, but still allowed a small number of the faithful to take part in the annual ceremony.
In last year's hajj, as few as 1,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia were selected to take part in the hajj. Two-thirds were foreign residents from among the 160 different nationalities that would have normally been represented at the hajj. One-third were Saudi security personnel and medical staff.
Each year, up to 2 million Muslims perform the hajj, a physically demanding and often costly pilgrimage that draws the faithful from around the world. The hajj, required of all able-bodied Muslims to perform once in their lifetime, is seen as a chance to wipe clean past sins and bring about greater humility and unity among Muslims.