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1st batch of Hajj pilgrims leave Ghana for Mecca today

Today, Tuesday, May 28, the first group of pilgrims for the 2024 Hajj is set to depart from Tamale International Airport to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Hajj pilgrims file photo

Over 4,000 pilgrims are expected to participate in this year’s Hajj, embarking on a journey of spiritual significance.

In an interview with Citi News, Abdul-Rahman Gomda, Communications Director for the Hajj Board, emphasized the importance of cooperation among the pilgrims to ensure a smooth experience. He urged them to adhere to the instructions provided by the organizers.

"They [Pilgrims] should learn to be with us. They should take instructions from us. There have been instances where people don’t take instructions from us. You tell them what to do, and they want to do what they want to do," Gomda noted.

He further stressed the religious nature of the exercise, encouraging pilgrims to maintain their spiritual focus to gain the full benefits of the pilgrimage.

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"That is especially being a religious exercise, there is a need for them to be very religious so that they get the spiritual dividends which made them go there," he added.

To support the pilgrims, the Hajj Board has established the Dawah Committee, consisting of Islamic clergymen, many of whom studied in Saudi Arabia.

These clergymen will guide the pilgrims through the various stages of the pilgrimage, providing recitals and instructions on the proper practices and rituals to observe.

About Hajj

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Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which requires every Muslim who is physically and financially able to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage occurs during the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah and involves several days of rituals, including Tawaf (circling the Kaaba), Sa’i (walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah), and standing at the plains of Arafat in supplication.

Key Rituals of Hajj

  1. Ihram: Pilgrims enter a state of spiritual purity by donning specific garments and making the intention to perform Hajj.
  2. Tawaf: Pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba seven times, reciting prayers and supplications.
  3. Sa’i: Pilgrims walk seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, commemorating Hagar's search for water for her son, Ishmael.
  4. Arafat: Pilgrims gather at the plains of Arafat on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah for a day of standing in prayer and reflection, seeking forgiveness and blessings.
  5. Muzdalifah: Pilgrims spend the night under the open sky, gathering pebbles for the stoning ritual.
  6. Ramy al-Jamarat: Pilgrims throw pebbles at three pillars, symbolizing the rejection of evil.
  7. Eid al-Adha: Pilgrims perform the sacrifice of an animal, commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God.

The Hajj is not only a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people but also a testament to their submission to Allah. This annual pilgrimage attracts millions of Muslims from around the world, uniting them in their shared faith and devotion.

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