JEDDAH: Fatwas based on genuine Islamic principles reconfirm the religion’s flexibility, scholars told delegates on the second day of the 46th Grand Hajj Symposium.
The event was inaugurated on Sunday by Hajj and Umrah Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and features ministers and eminent Muslim scholars from different countries.
Participants underscored the role of the religious fatwa in achieving the Islamic objectives of the Hajj when it came to contemporary issues. They also praised the Kingdom’s efforts in facilitating the Hajj.
During a session titled “Islamic Jurisprudence System and Contemporary Calamities,” the speakers said that Islam-based fatwas played a significant role in facilitating religious matters and raising awareness about the Hajj.
Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam touched on the importance of the Islamic jurisprudence system in adapting legal fatwas in facilitating Hajj rituals for Muslims, saying that flexibility in such situations confirmed that Islam was valid for every time and place.
Dr. Saad bin Nasser Al-Shithri, an adviser at the Royal Court and a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, said the Islamic jurisprudence system was capable of dealing with emerging challenges.
The secretary-general of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Dr. Koutoub Sano, referred to the factual nature of Islamic Sharia and its ability to deal with new problems to help people understand it.
He highlighted the role of institutes and academies devoted to fatwas in qualifying specialists and investing in Sharia studies to extract rulings from the appropriate texts. He also praised Saudi efforts to deploy all its capabilities to provide security and safety for pilgrims.
In Monday’s second session, “Caring for the Pilgrim’s Journey,” Malaysia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Dr. Datuk Idris Ahmad reviewed his country’s efforts in providing services and promoting awareness among pilgrims, including medicines, vaccines, and personal health follow-up programs.
Ahmed said the services provided in cooperation with the Ministry of Health were meant to ensure their pilgrims were free from infectious diseases. He also praised the care and attention paid by the Saudi government to pilgrims over the decades and the remarkable development achieved by the Hajj and Umrah system.
Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat highlighted the Saudi ministries’ digital initiatives that contributed to the issue of more than 2 million e-visas through a portal that included all relevant authorities.
He also spoke about a luggage transport service that allowed pilgrims to focus on the duties of their rituals. He said pilgrims had received multilingual Hajj awareness guidelines before and after their arrival in the Kingdom.
Mashat added that the success of the Hajj and Umrah system was linked to a clear strategy derived from the Guests of God Service Program, one of the Saudi Vision 2030 programs, to enrich pilgrims’ Hajj experience and facilitate their spiritual journey.
“A pilgrim can electronically book all appointments and services, limiting negative practices such as stampeding. It can also ensure the flow of movement, smooth traffic, and easy grouping of pilgrims from one place to another.”
Dr. Ali Arbash, head of Turkish religious affairs, expressed his thanks to the Saudi government for its efforts in providing the appropriate pilgrimage environment in terms of hygiene and health to protect people.
Arbash also reviewed his country’s participation in the Green Hajj Initiative to raise awareness among pilgrims about reducing waste at the holy sites.
Saudi Assistant Minister of Health Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly underscored the efforts to provide the best health services to pilgrims.
He said these services, provided through the latest technology, were closely followed up by the Saudi leadership.
These services included 23 hospitals, 147 health centers, and 16 emergency centers on Jamarat Bridge. He added that more than 25,000 medical personnel were ready to provide all health services.
Dr. Hanan Balkhi, assistant director-general at the World Health Organization, described Saudi Arabia as an important strategic partner for the organization.
She praised the “bold decisions” taken by the Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect pilgrims and limit the spread of coronavirus.
She said Saudi Arabia stood head and shoulders above all other countries due to its cumulative experience in crowd management.