Indonesia Religious Affairs Ministry will refer to evaluations of the Umrah pilgrimage for Hajj preparation though the Saudi authorities are still deliberating on admitting Hajj pilgrims this year, an official said.
“While we are waiting (for the Saudi authorities’ decision), the ministry is currently readying a mitigatory plan that focuses on evaluations of the Umrah pilgrimage that will serve as a model for Hajj preparation,” the ministry’s director general of Hajj and Umrah, Hilman Latief, said in a statement issued in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The official affirmed that the authority is continuing to coordinate with the Saudi authority to confirm the organizing of Hajj pilgrimage this year.
The Saudi authorities, in essence, do not enforce complicated Hajj regulations as they have demonstrated by providing convenient access and an effective system to guide Indonesian Umrah pilgrims and help them adhere to prevailing health protocols and regulations, he explained.
“The Saudi authorities do not complicate us, yet due to the current uncertainty, they are highly cautious in preparing the Hajj pilgrimage system and allocating the Hajj quota this year,” Latief remarked.
He said that there is a possibility that adjustments enforced for Hajj this year would include a reduction in the Hajj pilgrim quota for Indonesia.
The official then asked Hajj guide groups, Hajj and Umrah travel agencies, and Islamic organizations to provide the latest Hajj-related information to prospective pilgrims.
“We must keep our optimism and spirit, as well as maintaining patience and readiness to accept whatever outcomes that prospective pilgrims would receive. We also hope that we can organize Hajj pilgrimage this year, and the Saudi authorities will inform their final decision soon,” Latief said.
Earlier, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas had expressed optimism that Indonesian Hajj pilgrims would be able to perform their pilgrimage this year.
“I am optimistic that we can send Hajj pilgrims this year,” Qoumas remarked.
The minister also said that his ministry will dispatch a team to Saudi Arabia to inquire about the final decision regarding the Hajj pilgrimage this year.
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