Saudi Arabia’s hajj minister asked Muslims on Tuesday to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage amid uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage over fears of the new coronavirus spreading to Islam’s holiest cities, an unprecedented move that raised uncertainty over the annual hajj. “Saudi Arabia is fully ready to serve pilgrims and umrah seekers,” hajj minister Mohammad Benten told the state-run Al-Ekhbariya television. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia suspended prayers inside all its mosques except the two holiest sites in Islam as it increased efforts to contain the new coronavirus. Saudi Arabia is scrambling to limit the spread of the disease at home.
Source: Punch March 31, 2020 19:18 UTC