The Managing Director of the Comerel Travels and Tours Limited, Ustaz Abubakr Siddeeq Muhammad, has urged Nigerian pilgrims to this year’s hajj pilgrimage to be cautious of some of the post-COVID-19 new rules guiding hajj operations and exercise in Saudi Arabia.
He gave the advice on Sunday in Abuja during the 2022 Hajj Induction course for intending pilgrims of the organisation.
According to him, the Saudi Arabian Government has taken more interest in hajj operations, such that, apart from the hajj rites, all other activities and rules have change.
He, however, said that this was to provide better services for the pilgrims.
Daily Trust reports that the annual hajj pilgrimage for international pilgrims was last held in 2019 and suspended in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This led to the Saudi Arabia Authority limiting the 2020 hajj to only 1,000 Saudi Arabia residents and 10,000 for Saudi Arabian residents and selected countries in 2021.
“Many things have changed in the last three years, including the absence of the Muassassah (service providers or establishment), who used to relate with tour operators and state pilgrims and provide them with some services.
“There seems to be more of centralized hajj operations, this year, and most of those that would provide services for the pilgrims are new. So, everyone should be conscious of the hajj rules to ensure the success of the hajj exercise and acceptable acts of worship,” Ustaz Abubakr said.
He also said there used to be ‘tent A’ and others, but that, this year, only ‘tent A’ and ‘tent D’ would be available for pilgrims.
He also commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for the efforts at ensuring the success of this year’s hajj, tasking the organisation not to lower its guard on the welfare of Nigerian pilgrims.
Also, the Ameerul (leader) Hajj of the organisation, Ustadh Saidu Is’haq, who tutored the intending pilgrims of the organisation, on theoretical and practical parts of the pilgrimage, urged the participants at the induction to take the rites of hajj seriously and avoid distractions that can hinder their getting the maximum reward for the exercise.
According to him, many pilgrims, especially the first timers, are unable to distinguish the three types of hajj and which one they are going for.
“So, it is important for you (intending pilgrims) to be well acquainted with hajj rites. Many do not seek the knowledge before they travelled and only resolved to do what they see others doing. Secondly, many also indulge in mundane talks and discussions instead of concentrating on ibaadah (acts of worship),” he said.
On health tip, a ears, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, also called Otolaryngology, Dr. Raheem Qadri, urged intending pilgrims to take clean water to prevent dehydration and to avoid brackish (or salty or uncleaned) water to prevent hitchy throat which might be mistaken for infection.
“It is also important for pilgrims to take their medications serious as well as receiving the compulsory and recommended vaccines, to be healthy and prevent illness,” Qadri said.