3 days ago, at least 769 people were killed during the Hajj. إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
IMHO, some of the casualties could have been prevented if measures, as I am about to describe, had been taken. These are measures which cost close to nothing and I hope at least some of these will see the light of day.
There are about 2 million pilgrims this year. This is a huge number of people to be at one place at the same time. And we all appreciate the amount of effort and resources that Saudi Arabia has put in place to make crowd-control more manageable. But the crux of the problem is there are just too many pilgrims.
Here’s what we should do..
1 Reduce Number of Saudi Pilgrims
What? Let me explain. 600,000 of the pilgrims in 2015 are local, i.e. from Saudi, a full 30% of the total. The population of KSA is about 30m, which makes their total number of pilgrims this year to be 2% of the population. I don’t know the formula for calculating the number of pilgrims by country, but it looks like it’s about 0.1% of each country’s Muslim population, yearly. But only if your country’s name is not Saudi Arabia. Unfair? Sure.
I am recommending that we reduce the number of Saudi hajj-goers from 2% to something closer to 0.1%. This would automatically take a huge chunk of 2,000.000 and would make crowd-control way easier.
2 No Repeats
If you perform the Hajj twice, you don’t get to Jannah twice. So why allow repeat travellers when there are about 2m people (in the case of Malaysia) who have registered but have never been to Hajj even once?
3 No VIP Treatment
The Hajj is the great equalizer. In peforming the religious obligations, in principle, no one is better than anyone else. No one. So, how come VIPs get to jump the Hajj queue? And why these VIPs knowingly jump the queue is beyond me.
4 Not Too Young, Not Too Old
The Hajj is obligatory only if you’ve reached the age of puberty (baligh). Which means that even if you’ve gone to Hajj when you’re 6 years of age, you still have to go again when you’re older. So, why bother taking little children with you for Hajj? It’s a waste of money, it slows you down and you’re just adding to the already huge crowd.
Similarly, if you’re too old, you’ll be slowing your fellow pilgrims down. So, don’t go. There are already just too many people.
Some of these measures might be drastic, but I think, necessary. There are just too many pilgrims, and we must bring the numbers down.