MECCA, Saudi Arabia (RNS) — Saeed Khan is a 58-year-old Pakistani business owner living and working in Mecca, and this is the first time in 30 years that he is not performing hajj.
In the past, as many as 2 million Muslims have made the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
This year, in efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mecca has opened its door to only a fraction of that number.
“Health determinants are the basis for selecting pilgrims residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and there will be no exceptions to anyone during this year’s hajj season,” the minister of hajj and umrah, Mohammed Salih Bentin, announced in early July.
According to the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, those already