• Applauds ulamaa team for driving exercise to success
The Imam of the National Mosque, Abuja, Dr. Muhammad Kabir Adam says the Ulamaa Team of the Nigerian Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in the just concluded Hajj 2023 provided guidance and sensitisation to pilgrims to ensure an acceptable pilgrimage.
He noted that hajj is a religious exercise, while stressing the role of scholars in driving the important and last pillar of Islam to success.
According to him, the Ulamaa Team was drawn from across various ethnic and tribal groups in the country, including Hausa, Yoruba, Edo, Ijaw, Igbo, Fulani, Kanuri, and other tribes, which strengthened efficient communication to pilgrims at the just concluded hajj, who also came from different backgrounds.
Dr. Kabir who was also on the team spoke in an interview with Muslim News in Makkah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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He said, “Islam is very wide. So, in every endeavour, definitely, Islam may assign responsibilities to either individuals or the society. Ulamaa are the people in charge of the religion itself. The hajj exercise we undertook is 100 percent religious. Therefore, the roles of the Ulamaa in hajj exercises cannot be overemphasized. The Ulamaa play very important roles in hajj. They have the duty to guide the pilgrims on how to conduct hajj rites in accordance to Islam.
“Ulamaa were so many at the just concluded 2023 Hajj. Nevertheless, if you look at the ratio, it appears that it’s like one scholar to about 1000 pilgrims. So, it’s not easy. I believe the Ulamaa have done their best. They started their activities on hajj right from Nigeria. There were a series of induction courses for the pilgrims at home. The Ulamaa led these sessions.
“In the company of the flights that took pilgrims to the holy land were members of the Ulamaa Team for the 2023 Hajj. Most of these flights landed in Madinah. The Ulamaa started work immediately from there, visiting the accommodations of Nigerian pilgrims to sensitise them on the do’s and don’ts of hajj. When Nigerian pilgrims started moving to Makkah, the activities of the Ulamaa continued. Most of the accommodations of the pilgrims were again visited for sensitisation.
“We also had many female Ulamaa in the team. They did their best. They were under the leadership of the Amirah of FOMWAN, Alhaja Rofiat Idowu Sanni.
“The Ulamaa were also at various tents in Muna to guide pilgrims on what they were to do in Arafah. So after Arafah, all pilgrims from around the world moved to the Arafah ground. In Arafah, the Ulamaa didn’t leave the pilgrims alone. They dedicated their time to ensure pilgrims had a successful hajj.”
The scholar said the Ulamah Team at every opportunity urged the Nigerian pilgrims to pray for the country and the new administration under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This, according to him, was in addition to a special prayer organised by the team on Arafah Day.
“I want to commend the Ulamaa team for one important thing. It’s that whenever they conduct sensitisation for the pilgrims, they urge them to pray for Nigeria and for the success of the new administration, especially as the President is still shopping for those that will make his cabinet team. The Ulamaa urged the people to pray for the president to select the right people who will help him deliver on the important assignment.
Imam Kabir also reacted to the controversies that happened at Muzdalifah, where pilgrims were expected to spend the night under the open sky until fajr but were vacated for the next hajj rite (Jamarat) after spending part of the night.
According to him, On Muzdalifah, let me first appreciate NAHCON. Most Nigerians were conveyed by buses. Islam is very complex. So, on the stay at Muzdalifah, scholars have three different opinions. The first opinion is that all pilgrims must spend all the night at Muzdalifah. That means you stay there till dawn and pray subhi before proceeding to Jamarat.
“The second opinion says you have to go to Muzdalifah and spend half of the night, and you can then proceed to Jamarat. The third opinion says you go to Muzdalifah, perform zuhr, asr, maghrib and i’shai prayers, eat and relax for a moment and then you can leave. These three opinions are there.
“Going by the number of pilgrims this year, almost 2 million people, if they were not moved from Muzdalifah early enough, there would have been problem. That’s why the Saudi authorities, being quite aware of the three opinions, informed all hajj missions that from 12am, pilgrims should start moving to Muna. At Muna, you have two options: either you go to your tent, relax and observe subhi prayers before going to Jamarat or you can continue with the journey and stop at the Jamarat, and from there you proceed to Makkah. All Nigerians therefore joined NAHCON buses to Muna.
On the day of eid, the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the Imam of National mosque Abuja said the Ulamaa led pilgrims to perform Tawaf al-Ifadah in Makkah by circumambulating the Kaaba. He said, “We did that seven times. Eid is not compulsory for pilgrims like those not in hajj. But if pilgrims have the opportunity, it’s recommended they observe the eid prayers. So, most of the pilgrims observed the eid prayers at Ka’abah and then conducted their Tawaf.
“On Sallah day, the activities include the Jamarat. The last Jamarat which is closer to Makkah is the Jamarat al-Aqaba. That place is very historic. It was the point where Allah (SWT) instructed Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to slaughter his own son, the only son at that time. That’s the place where he and his son agreed to carry out the instruction. It’s the same place where Allah replaced the son with a very big ram. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) passed through a test and he was obedient. That’s the origin of the sacrifice we make every year.
“The second exercise is to come to Makkah to offer the Tawaf. Then, after the Tawaf, the third one is to perform sa’y, the walk between safa and marwa. That marks the end of the Sallah day activities for pilgrims. What’s left for them is to move back to Muna where they would stay two to three days.
“Our activities as Ulamaa continued, because we preached to people on what to do the following day. We also kept urging them to pray for the country, Mr. President and for everybody in Nigeria. The beauty of it is that when we pray for Nigeria, we are not praying for Muslims alone. We are praying for everybody, whether Muslims, Christians or idol worshippers. As long as you are a Nigerian, you are included. So, the Ulamaa continued with the guidance of the pilgrims through the Ayyam-ut-tashreeq.
“Even when pilgrims had concluded their hajj rites, the Ulamaa were still on the ground to talk to them. You know people were so eager for their schedule to go back to the country, so they needed the Ulamaa to admonish them on patience,” he said
The National Mosque Imam lauded NAHCON under the leadership of Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, noting it has done well and offered its best.
He acknowledged that no pilgrim was left behind despite the huge slot of 95,000 given to Nigeria.
“All the allocations given to Nigeria were utilised. Nobody was left behind like last year. Last year, it was around 40,000. This year, we were in the region of 95,000. You can see the difference, yet nobody was left behind; all of us were airlifted to Saudi Arabia. Again, Allah in His infinite mercy, made us not to lose so many lives despite the fact that we were 95,000. We had a successful hajj operation this year,” he said.
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