Thursday, December 7, 2023

Indonesian Muslims Advised against Multiple Hajj Pilgrimages

The Jakarta Globe
August 27, 2023 | 10:54 pm
Hajj pilgrims walk along a tunnel in Mina, Saudi Arabia, to a sacred site where they will perform the symbolic stoning of the devil, Friday, June 30, 2023. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro)
Hajj pilgrims walk along a tunnel in Mina, Saudi Arabia, to a sacred site where they will perform the symbolic stoning of the devil, Friday, June 30, 2023. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro)

Jakarta. The Indonesian government on Sunday urged Muslims to undertake the hajj pilgrimage only once in their lifetime due to the endless queue. 

While Saudi Arabia grants Indonesia the world's largest hajj quota, accommodating over 200,000 pilgrims each season, Indonesian Muslims often have to wait for years after registering with the Religious Affairs Ministry before their turn arrives.

"In my opinion, performing the pilgrimage once in a lifetime is sufficient," Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, was quoted by Kompas news website as saying.

Even though many individuals have the means to undertake multiple pilgrimages, the minister emphasized that priority should be given to those who have been waiting for years and have not yet performed the sacred ritual.


Muhadjir provided his own example, noting that since assuming his cabinet position, he has refrained from utilizing his status for repeated pilgrimages.

"If you genuinely wish to engage in the ritual again, you can opt for the minor pilgrimage of Umrah," Muhadjir recommended.

Unlike the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Umrah can be performed at any time, thus not affecting the already crowded waiting list.

"You could perform Umrah every month if you so desire," the minister said.

With longer waiting periods, the risk increases for Indonesian pilgrims. Government data indicates that approximately 43 percent of pilgrims are 60 years or older.

This year alone, 774 Indonesian pilgrims passed away during the pilgrimage, with the majority of casualties being elderly individuals.

Earlier this week, the same official said that the government is considering a regulation to restrict hajj pilgrimage to a single occurrence.

This year saw Indonesia dispatch 229,000 pilgrims to partake in the hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, marking the largest hajj quota the country has ever received.

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