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Saudi Arabia and Hajj: Instantaneous and future successes

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Saudi Arabia has been achieving a series of both instantaneous and future successes. It is climbing to the top with confident steps, both internally and externally, according to strangers before Saudis.

The Kingdom’s efforts in the battle against COVID-19 have been clearly successful, as pointed out by King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, in the speech he addressed to pilgrims, citizens and residents of the Kingdom, and all Muslims on Eid al-Adha. Success was attained in all aspects of life, particularly with the increase of herd immunity by providing millions of vaccine doses to citizens and residents alike, without any discrimination or quotas.

The Kingdom’s leadership has succeeded in raising the operational capacity of the Two Holy Mosques and enabling visitors to perform Hajj rituals in a safe and healthy environment, which is a great challenge, especially in such turbulent epidemiological circumstances across the globe.

However, the Kingdom’s success in this year’s Hajj season was not restricted to internal logistics. It was also evident in the creative capacity of fruitful cooperation with the rest of the Muslim world and the concerted efforts of the religious authorities that supported and valued the Kingdom’s measures for this year’s pilgrimage.

The Kingdom provided all the necessary services to pilgrims while keeping their safety a top priority. As a result, it reaped the fruits of its labor: no diseases in general, and no COVID-19 cases in particular, were monitored this season.

There were numerous scenes that highlighted the Kingdom’s creative awareness in the context of Vision 2030 led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but one of the proudest ones was women’s participation in this year’s Hajj. Saudi women appeared in a new light that reflected their role in the cumulative instantaneous and future successes of the Kingdom.

Saudi women seemed to be completing the historical and civilized journey that started with the beginning of Islam and continues to the present day, shedding the yoke of narrow-mindedness and intolerance without renouncing any constants or opposing any principles.

The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques supported Saudi women and opened up many doors for them. After all, women are half of the society; they are mothers, teachers, and scientists, and investing in their talents means doubling the opportunities for community advancement and leveraging what economics considers lost opportunities.

Female recruits joined the Saudi Ministry of Interior’s various sectors. They were involved in organization and inspection works, field monitoring and follow-up, translation and communication, and other services that made this year’s Hajj season a distinctly successful one and a notable precedent, despite the pandemic.

The European Union was at the forefront of international bodies that praised the sophistication, humanity, and good organization of this year’s Hajj season, commending the strenuous efforts of the Saudi Government.

In this context, EU Spokesman for the Middle East and North Africa Luis Miguel told Al Arabiya.net: “I am pleased to salute the Saudi authorities for the wonderful organization of the Hajj season this year, which was managed with great efficiency and resulted in no COVID-19 infections being recorded among pilgrims, and for taking all the necessary measures to deal with emergencies.”

Certainly, a representative of the European continent could not disregard the Kingdom’s success in terms of women’s participation in the Hajj season. In this regard, Miguel considered that women’s distinguished presence in the Hajj process underscores a methodical vision for progress and rational, forward-looking mechanisms that look to the future from a proactive perspective.

This year’s Hajj season would not have been such an honorable success without the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Health, which administered over 24 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The “Sehhaty” mobile app facilitated citizens and residents’ access to vaccination opportunities, and the Ministry of Health continues to urge everyone to register through the application and get vaccinated for free in the various vaccination centers scattered all over the Kingdom.

By the end of May 2021, the Kingdom had announced that 40 percent of the population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Saudi charity extends around the world and does not stop in Saudi Arabia. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman directed the relevant authorities to send the necessary support to Malaysia, which is facing the challenges of the dreaded virus. The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center also dispatched the necessary aid, including one million vaccine doses, medical equipment, medicines, protective equipment, and other medical needs.

The Kingdom’s successes are cumulative instantaneous achievements coupled with forward-looking, proactive steps, and both herald good outcomes.

This article was originally published and translated from pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

Read more:

COVID-19 impact on Hajj

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is advancing Saudi Arabia’s transformation

Saudi women and the era of creative empowerment