The grand Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia nearly welcomes 7 million Muslim pilgrims every year across the globe to perform their special spiritual pilgrimage called Umrah. These God-fearing Muslims enter Makkah through Jeddah and Madinah airports. Unlike Hajj, Umrah is the lesser pilgrimage that is offered throughout the year in the Muslim holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
Like the grandest annual pilgrimage Hajj, Umrah is performed with utmost religious fervor. To perform this spectacular spiritual ritual, the God-loving Muslims consult their trusted travel companies and strive to book cheap Umrah Packages Online with Flights. The tour agents also take the luckiest fellows to the other lovely Ziyarah places which they always wish to visit once in their lifetime.
What is Umrah?
Umrah is the lesser Muslim pilgrimage which includes pleasing physical and spiritual rituals. These rituals date back to the golden time of the Prophet Mohammad (SAW).
The Muslims begin Umrah by entering a state of physical and spiritual purity known as ‘Ihram’. Ihram is the two-piece white cloth worn by the male Hajj and Umrah performers in which they resume and complete their spiritual ritual.
The females, on the other hand, remain in their black and white long loose dress and the head covering during their Kaaba stay.
In Ihram and utmost purity, the pilgrims then circle around the cube-shaped Black building called the holiest Kaaba.
The performers afterward, trace or imitate the path of Hajar in the Safa and Marwa Mountains. It is the staunch Islamic belief that Hajar was the wife of Islamic Prophet Ibrahim who ran seven times between the two Mountain Hills to get water for her crying thirsty baby Ismail. It is also an alternative version of the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac.
Impacts of Alarming Corona On Umrah
Nowadays the alarming epidemic of Corona viral disease is the talk of every town of the world. It is China originated virus that is spreading like wildfire across the whole world. It is a painful virus that transmits person to person. It has affected thousands of people across the globe.
The KSA Govt. has, therefore, started taking a number of serious preventive measures to stop this agonizing infection entering into the territory. Like many other countries, KSA is arranging seminars and forums for the awareness of this infectious viral epidemic. The Govt. is also supporting the Corona awareness programs on International forum.
Umrah Ban in Saudi Arabia
Nowadays, after expecting the Corona threats from its rival neighbor Iran, the KSA Govt. has put a sudden temporary ban on the Muslim beloved Umrah pilgrimage.
For Saudi Arabia, the presence of the twin Saudi cities is a matter of immense pride and prestige. This host kingdom also welcomes its guest pilgrims with an open heart.
However, this Islamic Kingdom doesn’t compromise on the healthcare system at any cost. While allowing any entry, the Kingdom maintains a strict check and balance on the health conditions of the ritual intenders. The suspicion of any alarming health issue results in return or deportation of traveler from Arabia
Therefore, the proper and complete vaccination against all infectious diseases is more than mandatory for the Kingdom entry.
History of Viral pandemics in Religious Pilgrimage
Any Viral disease spreads like a wildfire among the pilgrims eating and praying together in the crowded areas. The virus if spreads among the weak immunity people, may lead them to death.
This horrendous suffering happened in 1821 when the Cholera epidemic killed around 20,000 pilgrims in Mecca. In 1865 another Cholera outbreak killed 15,000 pilgrims in Arabia.
The history of life-threatening epidemics in pilgrimage seasons dates back to the second Caliph of Islam. The second Islamic Caliph Umar caught a woman with a skin disease on her way to her religious pilgrimage. He asked her to return back to her home.
However, the Holiest Mecca gateway never closed in even other serious epidemics. The hospitable Kingdom has never stopped the pilgrims to pay their spiritual visitation.
But this time, the kingdom has taken the serious initiative of a religious travel ban on the future Umrah intenders. This Umrah ban has caused lots of problems and anxieties among future pilgrims.
Problematic Impacts of Umrah ban on Pilgrims
A number of God-fearing Muslims spend years and years of hard work in saving money for their spiritual Hajj and Umrah journey. But the present Umrah ban after the Corona threat has caused lots of confusion and anxieties among the pilgrims.
According to the Arab News reports, an Umrah intender Hina Baig talked about the disappointment she got after the religious travel ban. She tells that she was about to leave for Umrah a week after the very date of the Saudi announcement of the Umrah ban. She complained that the washed and folded clothes arranged for Umrah itinerary are still laying in the bedroom of her house in Houston.
She is very much worried about the huge sum of money she has spent on her future family Umrah. She worriedly says that it will take another 20 years if she fails to perform her desirous journey on her desired time.
Hina says that she was willing to have memorable family time in her spiritual way. She was going to be another 1st timer Umrah pilgrim who wanted to feast her soul with utmost spiritual showers of the Prophet (SAW)’s Mosque.
Like Hina, another 29 years old Umrah intender Atif Hussain was supposed to leave for Umrah with his father and brother this time at the end of March. He has also shown his resentment on the unexpected barring of pilgrims from their religious rights.
Indeed, it is the first time in Saudi Arabian history that the whole Muslim world is experiencing the annoying impacts of the Umrah ban.
Impacts of Umrah Ban on Tour Guides
The Saudi Umrah ban has also created an obvious disturbance for the travel companies and tour guides alike.
Tarek El-Messidi, who is a tour guide for the Umrah pilgrims says that he has made arrangements to facilitate 73 American Muslims for their future Umrah itineraries. He is also in confusion about whether they will be able to undertake their holiest visit or not.
Don’t Cancel, Be Patient
The trusted and humble travel tour agents don’t shy away in cooperating with their esteemed Hajj and Umrah clients to perform their holiest religious rites.
El-Messidi after sharing the picture of his already landed Umrah clients a week before the official ban announcement says that everything is fine with the residing Umrah pilgrims in Mecca.
Therefore, he says his fellow future Umrah and Hajj pilgrims to remain calm and patient because it’s a temporary ban that would surely be lifted after the minimization or possible elimination of Corona threats.
If the circumstances are not favorable and in our hands then, what we can do for our best is to remain patient and hopeful. Because Allah ( SWT) is with the ones who practice patience and perseverance.
If you are unable to make for your Umrah intention you can plan to undertake the most important and mandatory Hajj ritual which the Saudi Govt will permit you with open arms for sure Insha-Allah.
However, be mindful that everything happens for our own good. Our sound health must be our topmost priority. Health is wealth. A healthy mind and body are the inevitable requisites of a blissful life.