As umrah pilgrims resettle in their respective countries, the time has arrived for the first hujjaj to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform the fifth pillar of Islam – Haj. While thousands of South Africans yearn to perform the pilgrimage, this year 2000 South African hujjaj will be departing to the holy lands.
Speaking to VOC, South African Haj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) president Shaheen Essop has said that it is all-systems-go as Sahuc officials have for the past ten days been preparing for the arrival of the first South African hujjaj to arrive in the Kingdom.
He says that while the first three hujjaj are departing on Tuesday, 100 hujjaaj that are travelling with Khidmatul A’waam is scheduled to depart on Wednesday.
With the months of haj soon to begin as the 1st of Thul Qa’dah approaches, Essop notes that South Africans have traditionally been the first hujjaj to arrive in the Kingdom for haj.
Given the traditional send-off by family members of hujjaaj at the country’s airports’, Essop urges hujjaaj and their respective family members to maintain respect for fellow non-Muslim travellers within airport precincts.
He further notes that hujjaj and their family members should respect instruction of Sahuc officials at the airports.
“We need to display to non-Muslims, who are also using the airport that we have a sense of decorum and akhlaaq – we want to show them the beauty of Islam. Since, with one hajjah, we have at least 20 people coming to see them off, so we need to be adherent of the rules of the airport.”
Essop said that as representatives of South Africa, the hujjaj have been granted an auspicious opportunity amongst what he describes as a “world caldron” of hujjaj. VOC