Indonesian Muslims advised against many Hajj pilgrimages

Jakarta. The Indonesian government on Sunday urged Muslims to undertake the once-in-a-lifetime hajj because of endless queues.

Saudi Arabia provides Indonesia with the world’s largest Haj quota, accommodating 200,000 pilgrims each season, with Indonesian Muslims having to wait years after registering with the Ministry of Religious Affairs before their turn.

„In my opinion, doing the pilgrimage once in a lifetime is enough,” Human Development and Cultural Integration Minister Muhadjir Effendi was quoted as saying by the Compass news website.

The minister emphasized that even though many people have the facilities to perform multiple pilgrimages, priority should be given to those who have waited for years and have not yet performed the pilgrimage.

Muhadjir gave his own example that since assuming his cabinet position, he refrained from using his status for repeated pilgrimages.

„If you really want to re-indulge in the ritual, you can opt for the short pilgrimage of Umrah,” suggested Muhadjir.

Unlike the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Umrah can be performed at any time and thus does not affect the already crowded waiting list.

„You can perform Umrah every month if you want,” the minister said.

With long waiting periods, the risk increases for Indonesian pilgrims. Government data indicates that approximately 43 percent of pilgrims are 60 years of age or older.

This year alone, 774 Indonesian pilgrims died during the pilgrimage, most of the victims being elderly.

Earlier this week, the same official said the government was considering a regulation to limit the Haj pilgrimage to a single event.

This year Indonesia sent 229,000 pilgrims to perform the Hajj in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, marking the country’s largest Haj quota ever.

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