Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei have decided not to take part in Hajj this year in Saudi Arabia as the world grapples with coronavirus pandemic.
Bangladesh Hajj Mission Councillor Maksudur Rahman confirmed the matter and said they are continuously keeping contact with the Saudi government and other organisations.
Some other countries, including Nigeria, would also take final decision over the matter, if the Saudi government fails to decide over holding the largest congregation of Muslims within next few days, he said.
Brunei’s decision was published The Borneo Bulletin newspaper.
According to the report, Brunei has cancelled preparation for upcoming Hajj although pilgrims have registered as the Saudi government has failed to take any decision.
Besides, Malaysian Hajj Mission Chief Councillor Mohammad Shayemi said that no pilgrim from Malaysia will attend Hajj this year.
Not many days are left before the annual religious event, scheduled to be performed by millions of Muslims in late July this year.
‘Bangladesh fully prepared’
State Minister for Religious Affairs Advocate Sheikh Abdullah told UNB on Thursday that if Saudi Arabia informs Bangladesh about their decision, then Dhaka would take its decision after consulting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“We’re fully prepared,” he said.
According to the Religious Affairs Ministry, 137,198 Bangladesh nationals were scheduled to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj this year – 17,198 under government and 120,000 under non-government management.
However, among them, 64,594 people have registered — 3,457 under government management and 61,594 under private management.
The Hajj registration process was completed on April 30 after the extension of the deadline several times.
Also read: Hajj cancellation wouldn't be the first
Earlier on February 24, the Cabinet approved the draft Hajj Package-2020, fixing the minimum cost for an intending pilgrim at Tk 3.15 lakh under package-3 managed by the government.
In March, the Saudi government directed to suspend all Hajj activities.
The Hajj pilgrimage is expected to begin on July 30 (9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah) this year, depending on the sighting of the moon.
There are reports that the first time an epidemic of any kind caused Hajj to be cancelled was an outbreak of plague in AD 967. And drought and famine caused the Fatimid ruler to cancel overland Hajj routes in AD 1048, reports AP.
The global death toll from the Covid-19 stood at 420,993 while the number of confirmed cases reached 7,500,777 until Friday morning, according to the Centre for System Science and Engineering of the Johns Hopkins University.