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Saudi Arabia: Pilgrims told postpone Hajj if you can

16th Jun 2013
Saudi Arabia: Pilgrims told postpone Hajj if you can

 

[Photo: With expansion work going on at the mataf in Makkah, the number of pilgrims in this year's Haj season has to be reduced.]

By P K Abdul Ghafour

 

 

Jeddah, (Arab News): In an unprecedented move aimed at preventing congestion and stampedes and ensuring safety of the guests of God, Saudi authorities have urged domestic and foreign pilgrims to postpone their Haj plans for this year if possible due to ongoing expansion work at Makkah’s Grand Mosque.

The call follows the government’s decision to reduce the number of foreign pilgrims by 20 percent and domestic pilgrims 50 percent this year.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh has backed the measure, saying it was taken in public interest. In a series of announcements through the Holy Qur’an television channel, which is aired from Makkah, the government advised pilgrims intending to perform Haj and Umrah this year to postpone their plans to reduce congestion at the Grand Mosque.

“By making this announcement our government is not preventing anybody from Haj, but asking them to postpone in order to avoid congestion and help first-time Hajis to perform their religious duties without difficulties,” Saeed Al-Qurashi, a member of the Haj & Umrah Committee at Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News.

He said the mataf (the circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba) could hold now only 39,000 faithful per hour, suggesting an influx of a large number of pilgrims could cause congestion inside the mosque.

“Once the mataf expansion is completed, it can accommodate more than 130,000 pilgrims per hour. So, it would be better for our brethren to come for Haj next year or after two years, when they will be able to perform their rituals with ease,” he explained. Hatem Qadi, deputy Haj minister and spokesman of the ministry, emphasized the need for reducing the number of foreign and domestic pilgrims this year.

“The period for cutting the number of pilgrims will not exceed two years,” he said.

The ongoing expansion work at the two holy mosques are aimed at accommodating more pilgrims in the coming years, he pointed out. Qadi cited the grand mufti’s statement on the issue saying the government took the decision because it was essential. “The ongoing expansion is for the benefit of pilgrims,” the mufti said. Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh, Indian consul for Haj, said his country would send more than 170,000 pilgrims this year. “We have been informed about the government’s plan to cut the number of foreign pilgrims by 20 percent,” he told Arab News.

One Response to “Saudi Arabia: Pilgrims told postpone Hajj if you can”

P.A.Mohamed AmeenOctober 12, 2013

Islam means complete, total, absolute submission to One true Almighty Creator of the worlds, believing that man is not to submit to any other deity in the form of idol, person, wealth, position, materialism, political power etc. When that happens man is really, absolutely free, independent and courageous..

But submission involves sacrifices,

Religious rites involve sacrificing time, foods, sex, conveniences, wealth, pride, position, look etc.

In paying an obligatory wealth tax called Zakah( a certain% of excess net wealth) a Muslim sacrifices a portion of his wealth

In fasting for a month during the month of Ramadan he sacrifices his food, drinks and sex for about 14-16 hours(day time)

People both Muslims and non-Muslims understand the rational behind such rites like Zakah and fasting

It is true people who perform haj do sacrifice their time, wealth, conveniences, sex life for a period of time .

But by doing some of the unexplainable rites such walking around the Kaaba, throwing stones, staying at the desert camps, shaving off the hair etc the worshippers sacrifice the rationality and submit completely feeling that Oh God If I adore You out of fear of Hell, Burn me in Hell! If I adore you out of desire for Paradise, Lock me out of Paradise. But if I adore you for Yourself alone, Do not deny to me Your eternal beauty.

I ask no questions, I submit completely. That is the main purpose of haj

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Sectarianism in the Middle East and its rise in the UK, Standpoint, Sahar TV. Interview 29 May 2013 and aired on 12 June 2013


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