Sick pilgrims coming with wish to die in KSA criticized

Published — Saturday 20 September 2014

Saudi Arabia has expressed concern over the increasing number of pilgrims arriving with chronic or serious health problems. Such pilgrims are posing a health hazard for others and also putting pressure on the health facilities in the holy cities.HAJJ

“Haj is mandatory for Muslims if they are physically and financially able,” said Abdallah Al-Asiri, the deputy minister for preventive health. “However, many pilgrims are ignoring the stipulation, which is a matter of concern.”

Speaking to Arab News, he said many Muslims in different parts of the world strongly believe that death during Haj or in holy cities would give them a place in heaven. This belief is making them hide their health problems as they arrive with determination to undertake the pilgrimage.

“Unfortunately, many pilgrims believe that their sickness could result in their death during the pilgrimage, which can give them a place in heaven,” he said.

“This is sheer nonsense and nothing else, and Islam doesn’t allow anyone to get intentionally involved into a dangerous situation,” he said.

“The misconception that death in holy cities is heavenly is one of the reasons that aged and chronic patients are coming for Haj in increasing numbers,” the minister said. He urged scholars in different countries to promote Islamic teachings, which clearly specify physical ability as a condition for performing Haj.

Al-Asiri said that hospitals in Mina, Arafat, as well as in Makkah and Madinah are treating patients with utmost care. “Most of them suffering from chronic illnesses,” he said.

He said the Health Ministry has intensified its surveillance of pilgrims for Ebola and MERS.
“Our preventive health system is the best in the world,” he said. “We have made elaborate arrangements for isolating suspected cases.”


Categories: Arab World, Asia, Saudi Arabia

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