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Legitimate fatwas confirm flexibility of Islam, say scholars at Grand Hajj Symposium

JEDDAH: Fatwas based on genuine Islamic principles confirm the religion’s flexibility, scholars told delegates on the second day of the 46th Grand Hajj Symposium.

The event was opened on Sunday by the Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, and features ministers and prominent Muslim scholars from different countries.

Participants highlighted the role of religious fatwa in achieving the Islamic goals of Hajj with respect to contemporary issues. They also praised the Kingdom’s efforts to facilitate the Hajj.

During a session titled “System of Islamic Jurisprudence and Contemporary Calamities,” speakers said Islam-based fatwas played an important role in facilitating religious matters and raising awareness of Hajj.

Grand Mufti Shawki Allam of Egypt spoke of the importance of the system of Islamic jurisprudence in adapting legal fatwas to facilitate Hajj rituals for Muslims, saying flexibility in such situations confirms that Islam is valid anytime and anywhere.

Dr. Saad bin Nasser Al-Shithri, an adviser to the Royal Court and a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, said the system of Islamic jurisprudence was capable of coping with emerging challenges.

The Secretary General of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Dr. Koutoub Sano, spoke about the factual nature of Islamic Shariah and its ability to address new issues to help people understand it.

He highlighted the role of fatwa institutes and academies in qualifying specialists and investing in Sharia studies to extract rulings from the appropriate texts. He also commended Saudi efforts to deploy all its capabilities to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims.

During Monday’s second session, “Caring for the Pilgrim’s Journey”, Malaysian Religious Affairs Minister Dr. Datuk Idris Ahmad reviewed his country’s efforts to provide services and promote awareness among pilgrims, including medications, vaccines and personal health monitoring programs.

Ahmed said the services provided in cooperation with the Ministry of Health were aimed at ensuring that their pilgrims were free from infectious diseases. He also commended the Saudi government’s care and attention 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 digital initiatives of Saudi ministries that have contributed to the issuance of over 2 million e-visas through a portal that included all relevant authorities.

He also spoke of a baggage transportation service that allowed pilgrims to concentrate on their ritual duties. He said pilgrims received multilingual Hajj awareness guidelines before and after arriving in the Kingdom.

Mashat added that the success of the Hajj and Umrah system was linked to a clear strategy derived from the service program of God’s guests, one of the Saudi Vision 2030 programs, to enrich the Hajj experience of pilgrims and facilitate their spiritual journey.

“A pilgrim can electronically book all appointments and services, limiting negative practices such as the rush. It can also ensure the fluidity of travel, the fluidity of traffic and the 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 to provide an 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 educate pilgrims on reducing waste at holy sites.

Saudi Deputy Health Minister Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly highlighted the efforts being made to provide the best health services to the pilgrims.

He said these services, provided through the latest technology, were closely followed by Saudi leaders.

These services included 23 hospitals, 147 health centers and 16 emergency centers on the Jamarat Bridge. He added that more than 25,000 medical personnel were ready to provide all health services.

Dr. Hanan Balkhi, Deputy Director General of 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 the coronavirus.

She said Saudi Arabia stood above all other countries because of its cumulative experience in crowd management.