Canada's National Observer
It took Muhammad Siddique five years to save up for a pilgrimage to Mecca, but now the COVID-19 pandemic has left his plans up in the air. The pilgrimage — a process known as Hajj — is considered one of the most important obligations for a Muslim to fulfill. Every follower of the religion who has the money and the health to complete the journey to Mecca is required to do it once in their lifetime during the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, that falls during July and August. But after Saudi Arabia closed off travel to the holy city for another pilgrimage called Umrah last month, many potential travellers are concerned that Hajj could be affected too. The unprecedented move to cancel Hajj wasn't even taken during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed tens of millions worldwide.