KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s stance to consider allowing haj pilgrimage for this year to proceed for the Muslim population from other countries who were already there.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (pix) in a joint statement with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said the matter was informed through telephone conversations with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal Farhan Al-Saud, Minister of Islamic Affairs Shaikh Abdullatif Abdulaziz Aal Al Shaikh and Minister of Haj and Umrah Dr Muhammad Saleh Taher Benten yesterday and Monday.
“Saudi Arabia’s stand on the matter not only reflects the concerns of Khadimul Haramain al-Sharifain (custodian of the two holy mosques) King Salman Abdulaziz and the Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah over Muslims around the world to ensure that this worship can be performed safely from a public health perspective, but in line with the concept of maqasid (objective) of Shariah is the hifz al-nafs (preservation of life).
“The Foreign Minister (Hishammuddin) and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Zulkifli) have promised to keep in touch with the Saudi government, especially with their counterparts to ensure that Malaysians in the country (Saudi Arabia) are given priority in the event this year’s haj pilgrimage is allowed to proceed with limited capacity,“ the statement said.
The two ministers also called on all Muslims in Malaysia to pray for the Covid-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia to end soon, so that the haj pilgrimage next year could be carried out as usual.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak, Saudi Arabia in late February decided to suspend pilgrims’ entry to perform umrah in Makkah and visit the Nabawi Mosque in Madinah.
In a bid to prevent further spread of the disease, in mid-March, Saudi Arabia decided to suspend all international flights and restrict incoming and outgoing traffic to several cities, including Makkah and Madinah. — Bernama