As the authorities in Saudi Arabia urge Muslims to postpone their Hajj plans until the corona virus pandemic is under control, there is a possibility that the pilgrimage will be canceled this year. On the annual pilgrimage scheduled for late July this year, millions of Muslims come to Makkah to perform a range of rituals, including circumnavigating the Kaaba. While the ability to cancel Haj is an unimaginable prospect for Muslims, historians say it has been canceled at least 40 times in the past. The reasons were attacks, political clashes, epidemics and cholera outbreaks, floods, high costs and icy weather.
Hajj suspended for 10 years – 930-940AD / 316-326H
A sect called Qarmatians viewed Hajj as a pagan ritual. They attacked on pilgrims and killed 30,000 out of them. They filled Zamzam well with the bodies. They also damaged the Kaaba and pillaged the sacred black stone, Hajra e Aswad.
No pilgrimage due to political problems for five years – 1256-1260AD / 654-658H
Only those in Hijaz, Saudi Arabia have managed to perform Haj in these years.
The plague killed thousands – 967AD / 357H
Hajj was cancelled during this time and the reason was plague that took life of thousands of people and animals.
Rising costs – 1,000 AD / 390H and 1028AD / 419H
During these years, the Hajj was so expensive for Egyptians that they couldn’t perform this holy duty. It has happened twice in history
Political Disputes – 885AD and 1001AD / 272H and 392H
Due to the war and the political dispute, Hajj was suspended for the people of Iraq and Levant region.
Unsafe roads – 1001AD / 403H
Because of the unsafe roads and political differences, Hajj was suspended for pilgrims in Iraq and Khurasan.
Frost weather – 1026 AD / 417H
Haj was suspended due to the freezing weather and floods for pilgrims in Iraq.
Attack on Kiswah – 1925AD / 1344H
No pilgrim from Egypt managed to carry out Haj because a caravan was attacked that transported Kiswah (cover of the Kaaba) from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.