Egypt’s official Islamic institution urged Egyptians to donate their Umrah funds towards coronavirus relief efforts in the country, the institution announced on Monday, after Saudi Arabia suspended the pilgrimage over Covid-19 fears.
Dar Al-Ifta launched a campaign hashtag titled #Charity_First, which invites Egyptians to redirect funds meant for their Umrah pilgrimage during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan towards efforts against the spread of Covid-19.
“An invitation to all the Umrah pilgrims whose circumstances this year prevented them from performing your rites,” the insitution stated on Facebook. “Give charity at the cost of Umrah to the poor, the needy, and those affected by daily labour.”
Last month, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage over fears of the novel coronavirus spreading to Islam’s holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, which were placed under 24-hour curfews.
Riyadh has also urged Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage amid uncertainty over the pandemic.
Last week, Egypt announced a ban on any public religious gatherings during Ramadan in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including a time-honoured tradition of holding mass iftars for poor people.