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Temporary suspension of Umrah compliant with Shariah’

Saudi Arabia, March 7, 2020

MAKKAH/MADINAH — The steps taken by the government of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to temporarily suspend Umrah and Ziyarah is fully compliant with the stipulations of the Shariah, Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque in Makkah Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Al-Jihani has stressed.

Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended Umrah and Ziyarah as a precautionary measure to stem the spread of this deadly epidemic [coronavirus (COVID-19).

In his Friday sermon (khutba) at the Grand Mosque Friday, Sheikh Al-Jihani emphasized that protection of lives is one of the great responsibilities of the ruler and he has the power to assess the risks after consulting with knowledgeable religious scholars and experts.

Sheikh Al-Jihani, in support of his reasoning, gave an example from history — narrating the story of the Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) when he was traveling to The Levant (Al-Shaam).

On the way, Caliph Omar met with the commanders of the Muslim troops, Abu Obeidah Bin Al-Jarrah and several of the Prophet’s companions (May Allah be pleased with them).

They informed Caliph Omar that an epidemic had broken out in the Levant. The Caliph Omar consulted the companions seeking the advice of the oldest among them, but they differed in their opinions.

Then Abdulrahman Ibn Owf (May Allah be pleased with him) came forward and said: “I have some knowledge on this issue. I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: “If you hear about the outbreak of an epidemic in some land, do not travel to it. And if it occurs at a place where you are, do not flee from it to another place.”

Ibn Owf added: “The Caliph Omar thanked Allah Almighty and then left.” This is narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. This saying is evidence of the necessity to take precautionary measures and prevent the spread of the disease.”

Meanwhile, the Khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah Dr. Salah Al-Budair said that the novel coronavirus epidemic has dealt a severe blow to the world as a whole causing great concern for the global population.

Sheikh Al-Budair praised the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. This includes temporarily suspending entry into Saudi territories for the purpose of performing Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque.

He described the decision as wise, having lofty goals and noble intentions and great benefits in protecting people’s health.

Sheikh Al-Budair also called on all to take precautionary measures against the virus, especially by wearing facemasks and covering the nose and mouth with tissues when sneezing or coughing, as the spray from the mouth and nose can infect people nearby.

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