Prospective pilgrims have shared their tear-jerking reaction to the news that the auspicious journey of Hajj 1441 has been cancelled. Following weeks of anticipation, the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) and the Department of International Relations held a joint meeting on Thursday to determine the status of Hajj under the travel regulations put in place to stop the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic. During the sit-down, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor specified that South Africa’s borders will be closed for commercial international travel, excluding repatriation of SA citizens.
For many who were accredited the news did not come as a total surprise as the standing of Hajj hung in the air since March when the umrah season was also cancelled.
But for Mishka Darries, who would have departed for Hajj on the 21st June, the news had hit the wind out of her sails.
“Although we anticipated this announcement, we are devastated. My husband and I had our bags packed and our hearts were already on this journey. People say Allah tests Hujjaaj as soon as you’ve made the niyyah and indeed this is Allah’s test for us this year and we need to trust in Allah’s plan. Allah is the best of planners. We can only beg Allah to grant all Hujjaj contentment and an accepted Hajj when our time comes, Ameen, said Darries.
Yusuf Devine, who had gone on umrah in 2018 said he planned to undertake the pilgrimage with his wife but he knows that God has better plans for him.
“I was looking forward to undertaking this journey but if Allah doesn’t want to us to go then there’s nothing we can do about it, we have to accept it. I can only pray that the road will be easy going forward. We do feel unhappy and sad there is no denying that but Allah knows best,” said Devine.
Farieda Jacobs who was meant to depart with her brother in June encouraged Hujjaj to use this time to draw closer to the Almighty.
“I can say for certain there isn’t a single Hujjaj who isn’t feeling some pang of sadness but Allah is asking us to endure this time with a beautiful patience. Allah is always going to test His believers and we have to accept this and reaffirm our faith and belief and pray that we will stand on the plains of Arafat soon,” advised Jacobs.
Samsodien Paulsen from Delft advised despairing pilgrims to take the news in their stride and not let it get them down.
“There is nothing I can do to change the outcome. This is Allah’s decree and His choice. I will have to wait and see what He has instore for me, there is no point in getting upset over it,” smiled Paulsen.
Revert to Islam, Ruwaydah from Delft said she found solace in knowing that Allah will not forsake her.
“When I was accredited this year I could not contain my excitement. I have been waiting my whole life to visit the house of Allah but I believe that Allah will grant me the opportunity to stand in front of the Kabah, maybe not this year but soon. I want to visit my Prophet (SAW) and I know Allah will choose me and invite me to visit His house,” said a teary eyed pilgrim. VOC