From France24: Only immunised pilgrims allowed to Mecca during Ramadan, say Saudis


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7 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Personally, this strikes me as sensible as heck.

    I don’t know how sound it is theologically, but… hey. Maybe we live under a new covenant now.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Not a Scholar of Islam by any stretch of the imagination but this might have enough elbow room to qualify as a loophole:

      For this reason, those who are unable to undertake Hajj themselves, are permitted to send another in their place under specific circumstances. First, the person who sends someone in their place must be unable to undertake Hajj themselves because of an incurable sickness or old age. If the sickness may be cured, the follower of God must go when they are able. Also, Hajj Badal may be performed on a person’s behalf if they are already deceased. This act is considered a form of vicarious atonement. In this case, one of the Five Pillars of Islam can be completed for a Muslim who was not able to fulfill their duties while living.

      As the requirements for the person who is having Hajj being completed on their behalf, there are also requirements for those who are carrying out the act. When the person committing the act enters the Ihram—the holy garb worn during Hajj—they must acknowledge the person who they are representing. Also, when the Ihram is donned, the Hajj can only be for the single person who they represent and not for themselves. Another qualification is that the present person must be Muslim and in good standing with the Islamic community. Because there are multiple distinct types of Hajj, the person performing the ceremony in another’s place must attend the type which is desired by the unable. Lastly, if the person is still alive, then the performer of the Hajj Badal must ask for the permission of the person they hope to represent.

      There are also criticisms of this sort of proxy hajjing… so it’s not a slam dunk. But I think, for one year, there’s elbow room.Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    Have they announced how they will verify people’s status? To me, that is the biggest question hanging over loosening restrictions for only those who meet certain immunity criteria.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’m guessing that it’s something related to this.

      RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched a digital “health passport,” available through the Ministry of Health’s Tawakkalna app. The ‘passport’ will contain a registry of an individual’s vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and confirmation that the individual is immune to the virus, it was announced at a press conference on Thursday.

      I haven’t read anywhere that the Hajj itself will rely on the Tawakkalna app, but that’s what got announced in January and so… hey, I can google both Tawakkalna and Hajj.

      Yep, this article confirms it:

      The ministry specified that those wishing to receive the permits must have taken two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and based on their immunized status on the Tawakkalna app. It specified that this also applies to a person who has been vaccinated 14 days after receiving the first dose or a vaccinated person who has recovered from being infected.

      (emphasis added)

      So there it is.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        It will be an interesting test. This is high stakes, both in terms of the likely number and determination of folks who don’t meet criteria who want to be there AND their desire to enforce the policy. We’ll learn a lot about how such policies may play out in real life.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

          You’ve seen pictures of the Hajj, right? They’re packed in there like sardines. I don’t know what percentage of people need to be vaccinated to avoid a superspreader event but I am sure that most Hajis come back with a head cold under the best of circumstances in non-plague years.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yes, I almost wrote that no matter what they do, some people will get sick there. Even if they enforce the policy perfectly, some people will get sick. But that isn’t my concern.

            Will they be able to enforce the policy? Will folks be able to fake their way in? Will there be riots? Will they say they enforced the policy very well but way more people get sick than ought to have if that was really the case? Etc etc etc.

            Like I said, we’ll learn a lot. Not just about the virus and the vaccine and mass events. But about the ability to enforce (for lack of a better phrase) the immunity passport thing and what comes of trying to do so.Report