Tajik authorities announce competition to select heads of groups for Hajj 2020

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The Committee on Religious Affairs (CRA) under the Government of Tajikistan has announced a competition to select heads of groups for Hajj 2020.

The competition is being held from March 5 to March 20 and applicants should speak Arabic or English, be aware of Sharia law, know Hajj performance rules, be communicative, and have managerial abilities and leadership qualities, an official source at CRA told Asia Plus in an interview.

According to him, nationals of Tajikistan aged 30 to 60 may participate in the competition.

Some 5,000 Tajik nationals reportedly performed the Hajj in 2019. Last year, Tajik nationals paid 35,138 somoni for performing the Hajj, which was 1,738 somoni more than in 2018 (USD/TJS exchange rate difference).

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has temporarily closed the two holiest shrines of Islam to foreign travelers and banned pilgrims from entering the country as fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak continue to grow in the Middle East.

Recall, Tajik authorities in 2016 introduced new age restrictions for those who want to perform the Hajj. Citizens under the age of 40 are no longer allowed to perform the Hajj. The aim of the decision to introduce new age restrictions is reportedly to give older people an opportunity to achieve their dream to perform the Hajj.

The new age limit of 40 has been raised from the limit of 35 that was instituted in April 2015.

For the first time the CRA introduced age restrictions on those who want to perform the Hajj in 2010. Only citizens aged 18 to 80 were able to perform the Hajj.

In 2011, the CRA designed a new Hajj uniform; men don two piece suits, while women wear long sleeved dresses complete with headscarves. The Tajik Hajj uniform is embroidered with the country's symbols.

Each year, Saudi Arabia welcomes millions of Muslims from abroad traveling on Umrah and Hajj. Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a pilgrimage to Mecca which adult Muslims must make at least one in their lifetime, provided they are physically and financially able. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God. The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year.

Source: Asia Plus