Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Success of Hajj is Not Extraordinary

Success of Hajj is Not Extraordinary

Thursday, 15 August, 2019 - 06:15
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The success of the Hajj pilgrimage is no longer an extraordinary feat, but it has become a rule.

There has been no stampede incident at the Jamarat. There are no concerns over the routes the nearly 2.5 million pilgrims have to take in a narrow geographic location. Even the management of the massive crowds has become a Saudi art.

The next step is transforming Hajj into a smart pilgrimage that would facilitate their performance of the rites.

Saudi Arabia exhausts all of its capabilities in order to host the pilgrims. The Hajj is one of the most important events of the year, for its leadership, government, security forces, volunteers and the Kingdom’s 21 million citizens.

It is true that the citizens do not directly take part in servicing the Hajj, but their daily follow up and unlimited support – each in his own way – has paved the way for all members of society to be involved in it. They have become part of this million strong Saudi system that not only aims to ensure the success of the Hajj each year, but for each success to outdo the last.

This year, for example, Saudi authorities launched eight projects, plans and initiatives as part of the “smart Hajj” platform. They all aimed to improve services, organize the management of crowds, increase the capacity of housing and introduce electronic platforms for the pilgrims.

All of this can be considered as a technological revolution in service of the pilgrims.

Not only does Saudi Arabia present a modern example during each Hajj, but it has also refrained from manipulating the Hajj for political or promotional purposes. The Kingdom adamantly refuses for this noble pillar of Islam to be abused to achieve political gains.

Neither its King, Crown Prince, nor its ministers are abusing the occasion to achieve political goals or international agendas. All of their efforts have been dedicated to offering the best services to millions of their guests. In fact, the interests of the state come to a complete halt during the Hajj in order to allow its ministries and institutions to dedicate themselves fully to perform their duties.

The Kingdom, in its role as organizer of this holy pilgrimage, firmly refuses the exploitation of the Hajj for political agendas. It has never even sought to abuse this event, which is monitored by more than 1.5 billion Muslims and the rest of the world.

It goes without saying that had another country been responsible for organizing the Hajj, we would have seen its ridiculous and blatant exploitation for political, partisan or ideological purposes.

Saudi Arabia has taken it upon itself to strip the Hajj of all political and partisan interests. It has also not prevented any pilgrim from performing the rituals. This includes pilgrims from countries that Saudi Arabia is at odds with, such as Qatar, which in contrast, bars the travel of its pilgrims over lame excuses. It then forgets these excuses and allows its football teams to travel to the Kingdom to compete at sports events.

It is no easy feat for Saudi Arabia to protect the Hajj and ensure that it remains immune from political religious meddling. This is another major accomplishment that can be added to its list of successes in organizing the Hajj.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks