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SAHUC confirms ‘all systems go’ for Hajj 1445/2024

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With the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah 1445 AH upon us, The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) has assured pilgrims that it’s all systems go to ensure a smooth process of Hajj.

Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey. It makes up the last of five pillars of Islam.

Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Monday morning, Secretary General at SAHUC Hafiz Hassan Choonara detailed the current logistical processes that are set for the five days of Hajj.

“We are less than a week away from the pinnacle of Hajj. Alhamdullilah (All praises due to God), preparations for this year’s Hajj started nine months ago. There has been ample discussions, interactions and negotiations with the Saudi Kingdom. At present our mission team continues talks within the Kingdom and we can only hope and pray that in the coming days everything will go smoothly and efficiently,” explained Choonara.

Arafat

The day of ’Arafat (Wuqoof) is the most significant day of all the days of Hajj, where pilgrims stand on the plains until Maghrib facing Qiblah, repenting for their sins and seeking forgiveness from the Almighty. Without this ritual, Hajj would be incomplete.

The day of Wuqoof will be on Saturday (June 15, 2024) this year.

Camp Spacing

Camps in Mina have also been cited as a contentious issue on Hajj. This is because prices vary and thus recipients expect the services to correlate with the prices paid.

“You’ve seen on social media the footage that has come out of Arafat and it is a user-friendly camp. There is segregation at the toilet facilities. It is an enclosed camp specifically designated for South Africans. I think this year the camp will be a benefit to local Hujaaj,” said Choonara.

Travel Operators

Following a post doing the rounds on social media citing two South African pilgrims’ refusal of entry into the holy lands after the pair tried to enter the country using fraudulent hajj “Mujamala” visas, Moaaz Casoo, President of SAHUC says the visas was issued by non-accredited Hajj operators.

“I am aware of the posts and [do] not have much details, what I do know is that it is a Mujamala (curtesy) visa from the Saudi Embassy, apparently fraudulent visa was issued by a non-accredited Hajj Operator from Johannesburg,” he confirmed to VOC News.

“We have cited challenges but nothing serious and operators have been working alongside SAHUC, it has been a hand in glove situation and all pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom. The last batch arrived yesterday and now all are ready for the coming days. There haven’t been any major challenges or serious issues. Both operating teams and SAHUC’s mission teams have been working efficiently around the clock to ensure smooth processes and up until now it has been a huge success, and we hope to continue this trajectory for the rest of this period,” ended Choonara.

VOC

Photo: SAHUC Hajj


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