Monday, September 28, 2020

Umrah Protocols issued by the General Presidency

The General Presidency which oversees the affairs of the Two Holy Mosques issued some new protocols for the gradual resumption of Umrah from October 4th.

One of the main protocol was the continuation of barring access to the Ka’bah during Tawaaf. The pilgrims will not be able to touch the Ka’bah nor kiss the Black stone as a precautionary measure and barriers will remain around the Ka’bah

Some sources suggested to ‘Haramain Sharifain’ that women and men will be divided into different groups as we had seen during the Hajj season however this is yet to be confirmed by officials.

"No children allowed"- Only people between the ages of 18-65 will be able to register and perform Umrah

 Also Read: ‘Rawdah to reopen after 7 months’

Zamzam coolers will remain inoperational however disposable Zamzam bottles will be distributed among the pilgrims

Among other protocols will be maintaining social distancing during Tawaaf as we have seen during the Hajj season. Pilgrims on any day during the first phase will be divided into groups of 12 and will be headed by a leader who will guide the pilgrims throughout their 3 hours of the allotted time. A health professional will also accompany each group.

The Presidency also announced that no one will be allowed to enter the Masjid without a valid Umrah permit.

The Sanitization department told that that Mosque will be sanitized 10 times per day and before and after the departure of each Umrah the group as well.

The President of the General Presidency Sheikh Abdul Rehman Al Sudais also announced the setting up an executive committee which will serve pilgrims and would have members from all institutions.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Minister of Hajj and Umrah reveals new conditions for Umrah

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten in a television interview revealed some new details regarding the resumption of Umrah. Among some of the details, we have highlighted the following important ones:

Regarding local Umrah:

1. Only people of age groups of 18-65 will be allowed to perform Umrah in the initial stage.

2- No person will be allowed to enter Masjid Al Haram except after registering on the Umrah Application

3. Umrah permit will be issued for free

4. Through the application the Ministry provides pilgrims housing and transportation opportunities

5- Isolation centers will be made in hotels for Allah forbid any pilgrims showing any symptoms

6- Alternate arrangements will be made if people face problem in registering through the approved app

7- Umrah Performers will be divided into 12 groups each 24 hours and allowed a time of 3 hours each and will be assisted by a health professional

Regarding International Umrah:

1.  The final decision “per country” will be made the Ministry of health after issuing some conditions and determining the countries to be risk-free in the coming weeks

2. Ministry of Umrah and Hajj will enable a special pathway for International Umrah and Hajj pilgrims

3. Ministry of Umrah and Hajj working on eliminating physical offices and enabling registration of Umrah and Hajj through official government apps.

Rawdah Al Shareef to reopen after 7 months

The Ministry of Interior announced the resumption of Umrah and visit to Masjid Al Haram gradually and also has announced the resumption of visit and prayers in “The Garden of Paradise” (Al Rawdah Ash Shareefah).

Prayers, visits and Salams (The complete Old Mosque) near the Rawdah of Prophet (PBUH) and His Rightly guided Caliphs (R.A) were suspended earlier this year in March as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19 as usually these areas are crowded with believers.

Visitors will need to book their time slot for visit in the Rawdah in advance through the app "اعتمرنا" starting today and with visits starting from October 18th.

The lifting of the suspension comes after the Kingdom’s initiative to lift all restrictions relating to COVID-19 precautionary measures by January 1st 2020.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Pilgrims to be granted 3 hours to complete Umrah

From October 4th, the first phase of resuming Umrah will be initiated when local pilgrims can perform Umrah which have to be booked in advance through a special application called اعتمرنا which would be released on IOS and android on 27 September.

According to details by Arab News, during the first phase Umrah pilgrims will be granted a 3 hour time to complete their rituals of Umrah i.e circumambulating the Ka’bah seven times, the performance of 2 rakah Sunnah behind the station of Ibrahim, running between the Mounts of Safa and Marwah seven times (Saee) and the shaving or shortening of hairs. During the first phase, only 6 thousand pilgrims would be allowed to perform their rituals.

This has been done to allow the maximum number of pilgrims to perform Umrah and remaining within the precautionary measures. Over time the restrictions will be eased through various phases and the expected date of the uplifting of all restrictions would be on 1st November.

Jummah Khutbah Summary from Masjid Al Nabawi, Madinah (8 Safar 1442)

Summary of the Friday Khutbah by Shaykh Abdullah Al-Butaijan, 8/2/1442 AH 

"The Virtue of the Congregational Prayer"

1. The masjids are the houses of Allah and the most beloved places to Him. They were built for worship, prayer, and for the remembrance of Allah. To it, those who believe in Allah and are protected by Him rush (for worship).

 2. From its minarets, the testimony of Tawheed is repeated daily, for all ears to hear: I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

3. It was the first school for education and cultivation in Islam. The generation of the Companions graduated from it, and they were the most worthy of knowledge and action.

4. Maintaining the masjids is achieved by building them, worshipping (Allah) in them, going to them to establish the prayers, and answering the call of the one calling "hayya 'alas-salah" (come to the prayer).

5. Dedicate a set time for the houses of Allah. Dedicate a portion of your worship to take place in the masjid. Put forth for yourself what will benefit you and what will cause Allah to raise you on the Day of Resurrection.

 6. The Corona Pandemic has become a great difficulty upon the Muslims. Their congregational prayers were suspended. The yearning of those whose hearts are attached to the masjid increased. Their longing and desire for the masjids only increased.

7. Allah has removed the difficulty, and He made every hardship turn to ease, and every worry turns to relief. Here are the masjids. Their doors are open and ready. Here are the houses of Allah waiting for those who will come to them and visit them. The sounds of the minarets amplify with hayya 'alas-salah, hayya 'alas-salah, hayya 'alal-falah, Hayya 'alal-falah (Come to the prayer, come to success).

8. Praise Allah and thank Him. Ask Him to remove what remains of this pandemic, to remove hardship, and to grant us complete security and a cure from disease. Rush, 0 servants of Allah, to the houses of Allah. Respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life, which rectifies your affairs and gives you happiness and guidance. Maintain yourselves [in the worship of Him] at every masjid. Guard the obligatory prayers wh rever the call is made for them.


Excerpts from the Khutbah

1. Allah (the Most Exalted) said, "The masjids of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish the prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided." [9:18]

2. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Allah's Messenger (may Allah's praise and peace be upon him) said, 'Shall I not inform you with what Allah erases sins and raises ranks?' They said, 'No, [tell us], 0 Messenger of Allah!' He said, 'Perfecting wudu when it is difficult, increasing one's steps to the masjids, and waiting after one prayer for the next prayer. This is the firm hold. This is the firm hold. This is the firm hold."' [Reported by Muslim]

3. Buraidah Al-Aslami (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah's praise and peace be upon him), said, "Give glad tidings to those who frequently walk in the dark to the masjids of a perfect light [that they will receive] on the Day of Resurrection." [Reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]

4. Ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah's praise and peace be upon him) said, "The congregational prayer is better than one's prayer alone by twenty-seven degrees." [Reported by Muslim]

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How to obtain an Umrah Permit?

The Ministry of Interior announced the gradual resumption of Umrah in four phases on Tuesday night with the necessary precautionary measures. One of the measures was to restrict the number of pilgrims to perform Umrah on a given day.

Also Read: Umrah to reopen for 'local pilgrims' starting 4 October

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in a statement said that intending local Umrah pilgrims, for prayers and visit to Rawdah Al Sharifah can apply on an application called “اعتمرنا
which will be available on IOS and Andriod beginning 10 Safar 1442/ 27 September 2020:

1. Fill in your details and select an available date for Umrah / Prayer in Masjid Al Haram / Rawdah.

2. A permit will be issued

3. Reaching one of the centers for transporting and gathering pilgrims in Makkah.

4. Show the permit to the officer present at the transportation center.

5. Wear a mask and adhere to the precautionary measures and ride the means of transportation provided at the centers for the worshipers.

6. Go to Masjid Al Haram. After you have finished your rites you must return to the meeting place or transportation center.

7. The worshippers can stay overnight in any of the hotels in Makkah. They must obtain a permit if they want to pray in the Masjid Al-Haram according to the times available on the application.

Note: Prayers (in Masjid Al Haram) and visit to Rawdah Al Shareef will begin from Phase 2 starting 1st Rabi Al Awwal (18 October 2020) while Umrah will begin from Phase 1 starting 4 October 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Umrah to reopen for 'local pilgrims' starting 4 October

The Ministry of Interior has announced the gradual resumption of Umrah starting from 21 Safar 1442 (4 October 2020) for domestic pilgrims in the following phases:

The first phase: allowing citizens and residents to perform Umrah from inside the Kingdom, starting from Sunday 17 Safar 1442 AH, at a rate of 30% (6 thousand pilgrims per day) of the capacity that takes into account the sanitary precautionary measures of the Grand Mosque.

The second phase: Allowing the performance of Umrah, visiting and prayers for citizens and residents from within the Kingdom, starting on Sunday 1 Rabi al-Awwal 1442 AH, at 75% (15,000 pilgrims per day, 40,000 worshipers per day) of the capacity that takes into account the sanitary precautionary measures of the Grand Mosque.

The third phase: Permission to perform Umrah, visit, and prayers for citizens and residents from inside and outside the Kingdom, starting from Sunday 15 Rabi Al-Awwal 1442 AH, until the official announcement of the end of the Corona pandemic or the disappearance of the danger, by 100% (20 thousand pilgrims / day, 60 thousand Worshipers/day).

The conditions being that the intending pilgrim has a valid permit from the application which will be launched on 10 Safar and the pilgrim is free from coronavirus

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will make mechanisms and centers in Makkah to transport pilgrims from/ to Masjid Al Haram