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2021 Hajj ban on foreign pilgrims We saw it coming — Qasim Alabi *Intending pilgrims have the reward of Hajj already *Private tour operators grossly affected.

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2021 Hajj ban on foreign pilgrims

We saw it coming — Qasim Alabi

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*Intending pilgrims have the reward of Hajj already

*Private tour operators grossly affected.

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The Managing Director of Habdat Xpress, Alhaji Qasim Alabi, in an exclusive chart with Kaabanews said Saudi’s silence for a long period of time was an indication that 2021 hajj may not involve foreign pilgrims, adding that Saudi Abia should not be blamed as they the country was probably trying to avoid turning the holy land to epicenter of Covid-19. Read the interview

How did you receive the news of announcement by Saudi Arabia limiting hajj to local pilgrims for the second consecutive year running?

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I have actually been expecting this. Saudi’s silence for a long period of time is a pointer to the fact that Hajj may not involve foreign pilgrims

How do you advise the intending pilgrims who have paid since last year and prepared by taking the two jabs of Covid-19?

As Muslims, they must take it in good fate. Allah knows what is best for us. I am optimistic that the door will open next year. The only issue is that it will be based on first come first serve basis. The number of allocation will determine a lot of things.
For those who have prepared, they should know that they already have the reward of hajj on account of their intention. Their rewards will multiply when they eventually go on hajj. They should be patient and have trust in Allah.

Read Also: 2021 Hajj: NAHCON reacts to cancellation *Urges States to grant refund request without delay *Describes cancellation as Allah’s divine design.

How will this affect the hajj and Umrah private Tour operators whose income and livelihood depends on this sole business?

As for the Umrah and hajj operators, many of us have fully prepared for this as we have seen the handwriting on the wall. We are all affected business wise, but we cannot because of what we will gain risk the lives of people. COVID-19 is very much with us and Saudi is probably trying to avoid turning the holy land to epicenter. We are aware that some countries are still seriously battling with new wave of COVID-19 and that is probably why Saudi is being cautious.

How would you advise NAHCON on this issue of a dashed hope?

NAHCON has not relented in her effort to provide adequate information about hajj. I am aware they have had several meetings with hajj stakeholders and that have made it known to us that our case is like someone living in hope and fear. They have given proper communication on this before Saudi made pronouncement. They can however douse the tension by making a press release on the current situation using the print and electronic media.

Is there any way the Saudi should be blamed for this dashed hope at the last minutes?

We cannot blame Saudi in any way. Saudi too needs money and we all know the economic impact of hajj and Umrah in Saudi economy. Hajj will hold for all if Saudi wants to be selfish.
We should all just be patient and trust Allah. This COVID problem will soon become a thing of the past and Saudi will be willing to open the door for all.

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