While the South African Muslim community desirously keeps updated with the wonderful spirit of hujjaaj, who are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to fulfil the third pillar of their faith, hujjaaj during Haj 2016 are gearing up amid soaring temperatures.
To get an update on the latest developments within the South African camp, VOC spoke to social activist and first time hajji, Yusuf Abramgee.
Abramgee explains that the biggest concern cited by authorities is the rising temperatures, where hujjaaj may be faced with 52°C weather during the coming days of haj.
In order to protect hujjaaj from the effects of desert climate, Abramgee says that authorities have implemented proactive measures and encouraged hujjaaj to remain hydrated and to refrain from being outdoors during the hottest hours of the day.
“We know from previous years that a number of people do collapse due to heat exhaustion, but a lot of progress and development around the haj areas has been made in terms of logistics.”
He, however, notes that given the nearing of haj, hujjaaj are for the most part focussing their attention on departing for Mina on Saturday.
He says that while crowds flood the haram Makkah, a factor that many may find intimidating, South African hujjaaj appear to be in high spirits.
Residing in close proximity to the Mina, Abramgee affirms that all arrangements appear to be in place and that authorities are working round-the-clock to ensure an incident-free Haj 2016.
“From what we see on local [Saudi] media, the authorities in the Kingdom are geared up and all plans are in place for haj. The authorities say they will deal with all eventualities as they arise,” Abramgee stated.
South Africans hujjaaj show their sense of brotherhood
Given the thousands of destitute hujjaaj in the Kingdom, who after many years of saving manage to secure funds to perform the pilgrimage, Abramgee explains that a group of South African hujjaaj have rallied together to assist where possible.
He says that the group is working toward providing food and water to approximately 12 000 hujjaaj by the end of the week.
“I think it is important that when we perform our religious obligation that we do not forget people who are going hungry – let’s not forget that charity is the cornerstone of our religion,” Abramgee added.