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Insecurity: Don tasks Nigerians on strategy adoption

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Insecurity: Don tasks Nigerians on strategy adoption

Nigerians have been urged to exploit the strategies employed by the holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as antidotea to curtail the prevailing security challenges in the country. An Associate Professor of Applied English and Peace Linguistics, Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Ilorin, Dr Mahfouz Adedimeji, in his presentation tagged: “Prophetic Responses To Security Threats In The Formative Years Of Islam”, said: “Despite the immense success of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his tremendous impact in the world of almost two billion Muslims who loved and followed him, his life was far from being a bed of roses; in fact, his life was difficult – a bed of thorns.”

Adedimeji, who spoke at a Lecture of the Ola Olu Muslim Society of Nigeria, held at the Wings Schools, Iwo, Osun State, said a cursory look at the world, in which Nigeria is an illustrative microcosm, revealed a dismal picture of horror.

“It is as if the devil, Shaitan himself, has completely taken charge of the global affairs,” he said. Citing security challenges in countries of the world, he said China, Palestine, Syria, Libyan, Afghanistan, Somalia and other Muslim-majority countries like Nigeria are hemorrhaging under the intense pressure of war, conflict and social crisis. “Hunger, poverty, misery and hopelessness are making many people commit suicide as life is a hell hole for a vast majority.

“In fact, Nigeria was placed fifth in the list with 15,000 suicides committed in every 100,000 in the world, making Nigerians the most suicidal people in Africa. “Among us and all over the world, sins have become standardized, faith deregulated, greed upgraded and wickedness celebrated.

While millions of people suffer untold hardships and deprivation, a tiny few live in voluptuous luxury. “In Nigeria, we seem to have systemic breakdown at virtually all levels and our security is perpetually at risk.

Alcoholism, drug abuse and sexual immorality, including rape and pedophilia have gained unprecedented ascendancy,” he stated. In combating this unfortunate situation, Adedimeji said it was high time the Nigeria and its citizens adopted the prophetic responses to security threats.

He recommended at least eight strategies the holy Prophet (SAW) deployed to the various threats that dogged his life. “It covers three secondary strategies which are migration (hijrah), peace (as-silm), and dynamism. Prevention is the strategy that is intended to alleviate the threats and risks.

It covers two secondary strategies which are vigorous image (propagation) and harm prevention (daf’ al-darar) while engagement is face-to-face or bumper-to-bumper type of response. It covers three secondary strategies which are jihad, swiftness and steadfastness (asSabr),” he highlighted.

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Islam

Hajj 2019: Airlift of 65,000 Nigeria’s pilgrims begins

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Hajj 2019: Airlift of 65,000 Nigeria’s pilgrims begins
  • 2.5m pilgrims performed 2019 Hajj – Report

 

MAGNIFICENCE

Nearly 2.5 million people fill a site the equivalent of 80 football pitches through the pilgrimage

 

 

The airlift of about 65,000 pilgrims from Nigeria has been slated to begin this weekend in about 93 flights from major airports including the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This came as Hajj authorities in Saudi Arabia face the daunting task of cleaning up after 2.5 million people as the holy pilgrimage comes to an end.

Rubbish bins and the streets around Islam’s holiest sites overflow with empty plastic bottles and other trash during the short Hajj season. The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), which announced the commencement of flights noted that the operations will follow the model adopted during flight from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia.

The 2019 Hajj outbound airlift of Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia spanned 93 flights that, according to NAHCON, conveyed 44, 450 pilgrims from State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards/Commissions and Agencies. The last Flynas aircraft that departed Abuja on the morning of 6th August transported 301 pilgrims left behind from various states of the federation. Meanwhile, the Hajj authorities in Saudi Arabia believe that most of the empty plastic bottles and other trash mess are caused by undocumented pilgrims – those without official permits.

A report by ARAN News quoted those living and working in Makkah to have aid that some people manage to slip through the pilgrim paperwork checkpoints set up by authorities. “The undocumented pilgrims are usually without bookings or places to stay, instead setting up camp on sidewalks or secret locations.

But there is also the issue of density,” the report read. All areas in Makkah are cleaned before the pilgrims’ arrival, during the Hajj itself and once more after the pilgrims have left. (SPA) All the holy Hajj sites are closely located to each other and the whole area covers eight kilometers square, or around 80 football fields. Maintaining cleanliness among a population of millions on the move becomes a huge feat.

Saudi Arabia spends more than SR2 billion ($530 million) on maintaining the holy sites of Makkah, making it the Kingdom’s largest environmental maintenance program. “The city of Makkah is not big, but the work that goes into it is massive,” Abdullah Al-Sibai, president of the Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research, told Arab News.

Mahmoud Al-Saati, general manager of hygiene at the Holy Makkah Municipality, said there were three cleaning phases that took place in the holy sites. All areas are cleaned before the pilgrims’ arrival, during the Hajj itself and once more after the pilgrims have left.

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Sallah: Sanwo-Olu, wife charge Lagosians on peaceful co-existence

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Sallah: Sanwo-Olu, wife charge Lagosians on peaceful co-existence

Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo- Olu and his wife, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu organised party for Muslims across the state, with a charge to them to embrace togetherness and mutual cooperation at all times. Speaking at a special Eid-El-Kabir celebration held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja put together by the State Government, the governor’s wife, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu said such remains critical to engender peace and prosperity for the nation. According to her, Nigerians must draw lessons from the significance of the festive season to always uphold peace, help the needy and have abiding faith in God.

She said:”Today’s festival brings us together not as Muslims or Christians but as one family either by blood or by friendship. The Holy Prophet (Peace Be Unto Him) said; “Togetherness promotes goodness and separation causes misery. Allah supports those living together, eat together and do not separate because surely the Blessings (of Allah) lie in togetherness.

“Islam has not only preached but has also laid down rules and practices, which help to promote unity and togetherness. For example, the Jama’h (congregational) prayers and the Hajj are meant to foster togetherness. Togetherness and mutual cooperation bring prosperity to all.

This creates a bond of friendship and helpfulness to one another in times of need. It gives rise to strength and power to face an enemy.” Recalling that the celebration was in remembrance of the command given by Allah to Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Dr Sanwo-Olu said the fulfillment of the noble command of Allah to Ibrahim signifies the faith he had in him, and that it was important for all to rely solely on God and strictly follow His commandments. “This act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commandments.

It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.

“The symbolism is in the attitude, a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us,” she said. While urging Muslims to eschew all traits of disobedience to God, Dr Sanwo-Olu said they must be willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently, adding: “It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.” While thanking God for the peace and harmony in the State, Dr Sanwo-Olu urged residents to continue to live as one, saying that it is in doing so that the State Government would remain focused to deliver on its promises and as well bring developmental changes. Earlier, the First Lady was at General Hospital in Epe to felicitate with mothers who just delivered their babies including those who delivered through Caeserean Section.

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Imam urges Muslims to fast tomorrow

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Imam urges Muslims to fast tomorrow

Chief Imam of Young Muslim Brothers and Sisters (YOUMBAS), Ogun state and Republic of Benin chapter, Imam Najeemdeen Yusuf Aduralongba, has urged Muslims who are not in Mecca for pilgrimage to observe fasting tomorrow, Saturday, corresponding to the Day of Arafat. Aduralongba who noted that fasting on this day is not compulsory, maintained that this act is highly recommended for those who will not be on the plain of Arafat tomorrow.

Delivering a Friday sermon entitled: “Excellence of Fasting on the Day of Arafah,” at the YOUMBAS International Mosque, Obada Oko, Abeokuta, the cleric who doubles as the Mufti of Bode Olude community said; “Since tomorrow, Saturday is the Day of Arafah; Fasting on it expiates the sins of the past year and the coming year. Don’t miss this great reward!! “Fasting on the Day of Arafah, which is the ninth day of Dhul- Hijjah is not compulsory but it is highly desirable.

“Since the day of Arafat is the day that the pilgrims gather at the mountain plain of Arafah, praying and supplicating to their Lord. It is Mustahabb (highly recommended) for those who are not pilgrims to fast on this day,” he said. According to him, the Prophet Muhammed (Peace of Allah be upon him) “was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah, so he said, “It expiates the sins of the past year and the coming year.

“Likewise, the Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said, There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of Arafah. He comes close to those (people standing on Arafah), and then He revels before His Angels saying, ‘What are these people seeking?’ Imam At-Tirmidhi said, The People of Knowledge consider it recommended to fast on the day of Arafah, except for those at Arafah. “For many Muslims, the Day of Arafat proves to be the most memorable part of the hajj pilgrimage, and one that stays with them forever. And so for non-pilgrims Muslims around the world who are not participating in the pilgrimage, they often spend this day in fasting and devotion. “Both government offices and private businesses in Islamic nations are generally closed on the Day of Arafat to allow employees to observe it.

“The Day of Arafat is, therefore, one of the most important holidays in the entire Islamic year. It is said to offer expiation for all sins of the prior year, as well as all sins for the upcoming year.” He continued: “The Day of Arafat falls on the second day of pilgrimage rituals. At dawn on this day, nearly 2 million Muslim pilgrims will make their way from the town of Mina to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafat and the Plain of Arafat, which is located about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) from Mecca, the final destination for the pilgrimage. Muslims believe that it was from this site that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, gave his famous Farewell Sermon in his final year of life.

“Every Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca once during his or her lifetime; the pilgrimage itself is not considered complete unless the stop at Mount Arafat is also made. Thus, the visit to Mount Arafat is synonymous with the Hajj itself. Completion involves arriving at Mount Arafat before noon and spending the afternoon upon the mountain, remaining until sunset.”

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65,000 Nigerian pilgrims move to Muna as Hajj rites begin

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65,000 Nigerian pilgrims move to Muna as Hajj rites begin

Not less than 65,000 Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia for the 2019 Hajj have assembled at the tent city of Muna as rites for the holy pilgrimage begin. This came as Nigeria recorded a shortfall of about 30, 000 on the quota it secured from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2019 operations.

National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), which gave the number of Nigerian pilgrims at this year’s Hajj as 65,000, maintained that adequate arrangements have been made by NAHCON to ease the difficulties in performing the Hajj, which begins tomorrow, Saturday, August 10.

An official of NAHCON, Aliyu Tanko, said that the pilgrims have arrived the holy land and were engaged in preliminary activities preparatory to the conduct of the proper Hajj. Tanko also said that the Saudi Arabian authorities have dedicated a road solely for Nigerian pilgrims during the stoning of the devil The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Tuesday, August 6, disclosed that no fewer than 65,000 Nigerian pilgrims are in Saudi Arabia for the 2019 Hajj. An official of the commission, Aliyu Tanko, told newsmen in Makkah that adequate arrangements have been made by NAHCON to ease the difficulties in performing the Hajj, which begins on Saturday, August 10, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

He said that all Nigerian pilgrims have arrived the holy land and were engaged in preliminary activities preparatory to the conduct of the proper Hajj. He commended the excellent arrangements made by the Saudi Arabian authorities to avoid congestion and commotion on Arafat day and during the stoning of the devil in Muna. The commission official said that the Saudi Arabian authorities have dedicated a road solely for Nigerian pilgrims during the stoning of the devil. “We are highly pleased with this arrangement, this singular honor explains the cordial relationship and friendship existing between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia government.

“NAHCON has provided enough and fully air conditioned vehicles that will be shuttling with the pilgrims during the movement of the pilgrims to the designated worship places. “The commission has also engaged the services of competent and well experienced individuals to serve as guide to avoid cases of missing pilgrims, while we have also made arrangements for tracking devices to monitor the movement of our pilgrims,” he said. Tanko commended the excellent conduct of Nigerian pilgrims in the holy land, as not a single case of breach of Law has been reported to the commission, but warned the pilgrims against exposing themselves to the harsh weather which may affect their health.

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Hajj 2019: 45 Nigerian pilgrims sick, on medical observation in Saudi –NAHCON

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Hajj 2019: 45 Nigerian pilgrims sick, on medical observation in Saudi –NAHCON

45 Nigerian pilgrims are on observation for variety of illnesses in the four facilities in Madina and another five in Makkah. The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, which disclosed this, confirmed the death of five Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia. The Chairman of the National Medical Team, Ibrahim Kana, released the figure in Madinah from the commission’s National Medical Team Electronic Health Medical Records.

He maintained that 108 referrals were made to various Saudi Arabian hospitals. “So far, Nigeria has lost five pilgrims including three females and two males; out of which one died in Madina while the remaining four died in the city of Makkah.

“They all died of various illnesses including heart and lung diseases. “Records shows that so far in both Makkah and Madina, we have made 10, 485 diagnosis with Makkah accounting for over 60 per cent. “Additionally, 108 referrals were made to various Saudi Arabian hospitals after keeping 45 pilgrims on observation for variety of illnesses in the four facilities in Madina and another five in Makkah. “In order to ameliorate suffering of pilgrims, all the clinics are located within a stone throw to pilgrims’ accommodation in both Makkah and Madina,” he stated. Over 150 million drugs had been consumed by Nigerian pilgrims at no cost to them, the record showed.

“The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria prepared a drug forecast for the entire operation, including drugs for HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, donated by the Federal Ministry of Health. “The remaining was procured by the commission, both onshore and offshore, following government due process. “In terms of wellbeing of pilgrims so far on the medical side, we are yet to encounter any serious situation or potential outbreak of any disease, except for the extreme temperatures. “We admonish our pilgrims to stay indoors as much as possible.

“If they must go out, they should cultivate the use of umbrellas and consume plenty of cold water,” he said. Regarding concerns of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERSCoV), Mr Kana said pilgrims were strongly advised to stay away from camels which were the reservoir and vector for the transmission of the disease. “We appeal to pilgrims to eat healthy and not patronise illegal food vendors to prevent cases of gastroenteritis as a result of food poisoning.

“Similarly, pilgrims are strongly advised not to consume stale foods which get easily contaminated as a result of the high temperatures.” He also advised pilgrims to attend the health centres opened for them, reminding them that they were free to make use of the free services and called on the health personnel to be cautious and humane to “the guests of Allah.” Mr. Kana said all the NAHCON clinics were fully computerised, “therefore, pilgrims with the habit of patronising clinics just to receive drugs would not be able to do that this time.”

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Hajj: 75, 919 more Nigerian pilgrims expected in Makkah

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Hajj: 75, 919 more Nigerian pilgrims expected in Makkah

No fewer than 75, 919 pilgrims from Nigeria are still being expected to arrive the holy cities of Makkah and Medinah for the 2019 Hajj operations. These numbers of pilgrims are those remaining from the 95,000 pilgrims quota allocated to Nigeria by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Already, the number of pilgrims from Nigeria to Madinah, for the 2019 Hajj, has reached 19,081 in 39 flights.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) said this in Madinah. With this, xhecks by New Telegraph showed, it remains 75,919 for the 95,000 hajj quota to be met. NAHCON’s Command and Control Centre said that MaxAir NGL1049 had departed Ilorin for Jeddah at 05:40 a m, comprising 369 Kwara pilgrims with 187 males and 182 females.

The centre also disclosed that Kano pilgrims, made up of 121 males and 64 females, left Nigeria for Madinah. Meanwhile, Nigerian pilgrims have been conducting their religious obligations toward the fulfillment of Hajj requirement in Makkah peacefully. Officers of NAHCON and their counterparts from the states have been doing their best in enlightening pilgrims of what is expected of them to attain acceptable Hajj. Other officers were seen attending to accommodation and health needs of pilgrims and ensuring that pilgrims are served with good food among others.

However, in spite of the advice from NAHCON officers to the pilgrims to concentrate on the religious aspect of their journey to the holy land, some of them have embarked on shopping.

They claimed that the materials were meant to serve as gifts for their families and friends at home. Newsmen in Madinah reported that the least article available for purchase as a gift is 5 Riyad, equivalent to N500. Many pilgrims, however, told journalists that they had engaged in serious prayer for peace in Nigeria, besides doing so for their families and friends.

Some said they made friends among fellow Muslims from other parts of the world. According to them, Islam is a religion of peace, which enjoins its adherents to show love to others, irrespective of religious, tribe and colour.

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Islam

How pilgrim slumped, ‘resurrected’ in Masjid Nabawiy

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How pilgrim slumped, ‘resurrected’ in Masjid Nabawiy

Morer details have emerged on how a non-Nigerian pilgrim slumped and was revived at the Masjid Haram/Nabawi in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. The pilgrim, a report showed, collapsed shortly after a prayer offered around 7:05 PM Saudi time. “About five of the emergency responders battled hard to revive him unsuccessfully,” a Nigerian journalist, Tajudeen Adebanjo, who witnessed the incident, reported.

“Their colleagues,” he continues, “were chasing other pilgrims, who wanted to catch glimpse of the situation, away.” He continued: “Two of the responders told the pilgrims not to stay there. They chanted Hajji! Hajji!!, go as they were telling the pilgrims to leave the scene.”

The situation was brought under control when this reporter and a medical practitioner with the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSMPWB), Dr Abideen Aro got to the scene. Aro introduced himself as a medical practitioner to the visibly troubled emergency responders before they allowed him access to the slumped pilgrim.

He quickly collected some medical instruments, including the one used to check the pilgrim’s heart if it’s still active. After administering some medical therapies, the pilgrim opened his eyes and responded to further first aid treatment. The pilgrim was quickly put on emergency vehicle and driven to the hospital for further treatment.

The emergency responders thanked Dr Aro for his heroic feat. According to Dr Aro, who is working with the Lagos State Accident and Trauma Centre, the pilgrim was dehydrated. He said the high temperature in Saudi Arabia could be the cause. Aro, who was formerly with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said the pilgrim needed to be placed on drip to regain some energies.

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200 families of Christchurch massacre victims invited for Hajj

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200 families of Christchurch massacre victims invited for Hajj

King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has ordered invitation and hosting of 200 of the families of the victims of Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. The hosting is part of the Saudi King Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah that is implemented and supervised by the Islamic Affairs Ministry. Minister of Islamic Affairs and General Supervisor of the Program, Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, said in statements to the Saudi Press Agency that the initiative was part of the Kingdom’s counterterrorism efforts. He said that ministry would follow up the required procedures through the Saudi embassy in New Zealand to finalize their departure to the Kingdom and provide them with all facilities to perform the pilgrimage. The Saudi king had ordered hosting 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims this year. The Christchurch mosque shootings were two consecutive terrorist shooting attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during the Friday prayers on March 15, 2019, which left 51 Muslim worshippers killed. King Salman also ordered Saudi Arabia to host 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims from the families of martyrs to perform Hajj next month. The pilgrims will be part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah. The Saudi minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance, Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh expressed his appreciation for King Salman’s “generous gesture towards the Palestinian state and its brotherly people,” the Saudi Press Agency reported Sunday. Al-Asheikh said the ministry would work swiftly on executing the king’s order by following up on the pilgrims’ traveling process through its embassies in Egypt and Jordan. The ministry would also finalize all procedures needed for their travel to the kingdom on private flights, and offer services to help them perform the duty of Hajj.

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Hajj 2019: NDLEA gives last warning to pilgrims

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            …says gum, kolanuts’ imports attract death penalty in Saudi

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has warned intending pilgrims from Nigeria that smuggling of gum and tramadol as well as kolanut and bitter cola still attract death penalty in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Ogun state NDLEA Commander, Alhaji Ishaku Yusuf, gave the warning at a seminar organised by the Ogun State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board (OGSMPWB) held at the Valley View Auditorium, Government House, Abeokuta.

Yusuf said illicit drugs trafficking attract death penalty in Saudi Arabia and must be avoided by all means. The commander, who was represented by Muazu Aliyu Dan-Musa, also cautioned pilgrims against carrying other improvised hard drugs, including gum and tramadol as well as kolanut and bitter cola. He urged them to be extra vigilant at the airport and refrain from carrying any other person’s luggage as this may put them in avoidable mess.

He said, “I wish to draw the attention of all intending pilgrims to the stiff penalty attached to drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia. Anyone caught, faces a death penalty. “As intending pilgrims, it is an offence for anybody to traffic or carry drugs such as marijuana, hashish, cocaine, heroin and other form of illicit drugs from Nigeria to the Holy Land.” Also speaking, the Wakil of Remoland, Sheikh Musbau Salako, enjoined the intending pilgrims to be disciplined and respect the law.

He admonished them to be moderate in both hand and main luggage, saying their luggage should not be more than 40 kilogrammes. Salako urged the pilgrims to seek for God’s favour and mercy while in Mecca and Medina so as to complement Hajj rites, adding that they should fear God during the exercise.

At the seminar, the Executive Secretary of the board, Alhaji Abdulhakeem Kalejaye, disclosed that July 19 will be the take-off date for the first batch of the state’s pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. Kalejaye added that the board will start with the first batch of 315 passengers whose names will be pasted at the notice board.

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Islam

Nigeria’s pilgrims land in S’Arabia as countdown to Hajj rites begin

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Nigeria’s pilgrims land in S’Arabia as countdown to Hajj rites begin
  • 400 Lagos pilgrims first to reach holy land

 

The first batch out of 95,000 pilgrims from Nigeria have landed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the countdown to 2019 Hajj rites begins. Checks by New Telegraph showed that over 400 pilgrims from Lagos state are already in the holy land for the Hajj rites.

This year Hajj fall in August and Muslims from across the globe, particularly the first batch of pilgrims from Lagos, have already begun to arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of the holy period. Hajj 2019 is expected to start on Friday, August 9 and end on Wednesday, August 14.

The Lagos State Government had earlier announced the departure date for the first batch of pilgrims from the state. Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, who made the disclosure while inaugurating an 11-Man Committee for this year’s Hajj at Alausa, Ikeja, said the first batch of pilgrims would leave on July 10. He also said that 2,234 pilgrims from the state would be participating in the 2019 Hajj to Saudi Arabia. HAJJ is a holy pilgrimage to Mecca made by hundreds of thousands of Muslims every year.

This is when Hajj 2019 starts and ends. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to is expected to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. Once a year hundreds of thousands of Muslims make the journey to Saudi Arabia, to the holiest city in the world, according to Islamic faith – Mecca. The Islamic calendar is lunarbased so while Hajj is always in the 12th month of the Muslim calendar, its dates change every year.

The 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar is called Dhul-Hijjah, and Hajj takes place between the eighth and 13th days of the month. Last year more than two million Muslims arrived in Mecca for Hajj. During Hajj Mecca becomes one of the most densely-populated locations on earth as hundreds of thousands come together there to observe religious rituals. The ritual of Hajj unites Muslims of all nationalities, ethnic groups and backgrounds to stand and worship together in the eyes of God.

The pilgrims are given special garments to wear which are meant to make them appear as equals, despite wealth and status. During Hajj, Muslims come together in front of Kaaba – Islam’s most important mosque. Two million went to Mecca for Hajj last year. According to Islamic tradition, the Kaaba – a black silk-clad stone structure at the heart of the Grand Mosque in Mecca – was built by the Prophet Abraham in biblical times. Around two million Muslims took part in Hajj last year.

The five-day holy pilgrimage disallows sex, smoking, swearing and disagreements are among the things banned during the Hajj. Hajj is a huge strategic operation due to the vast number of people who participate.

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