HAJJ 2022: Arafat Starts Today.

The Day Will Be Observed With Prayers, Fasting, and Repentance. It Will Begin In the Evening of Sunday, 18 July and Ends In the Evening of Monday, 19 July2021

If Lailat al Qadr is the best night, the day of Arafat is the best day that Allah ever created. It is highly recommended by Prophet Mohammed (SAW) to continuously recite the followingverse throughout the day: La illaha Illala Lahul Mulku WaLahul Hamdu Wa Huwa Allah Kulu Sai een Qadir. This can be repeated several times during the day. Whether you are in your house, in school, in your business, in the office, or anywhere you are, or whatever you’re doing; repeating these verses is strongly recommended.

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The significance of the Day of Arafat is to commemorate the Prophet’s farewell sermon and completion of the message of Islam, the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage. Those Muslims who did not go to Hajj may fast during the day to repent for their sins. This is the second year in a row that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have imposed severe restrictions on those who wanted to perform one of Islam’s cardinal requirements- performing the hajj once in your lifetime if you can afford it- due to the devastating pandemic Covid-19.

At the time the restrictions were announced, many would-be pilgrims were waiting for the official announcement from the Government which was never done even though many media houses and journalists have been in touch with the Hajj commission for clarification to no avail. The head of the Hajj commission was contacted two months ago only to refuse to make any comments on the matter pending the official decision of the Government. That decision is still not be made known to the public.

Hajj commissions and governments in other countries have acted responsibly promptly informing their citizens about the new measures and urged all travel agencies not to accept any payments from intending pilgrims for the hajj. This is what the authorities in the Gambia failed to do for its intending pilgrims thus creating total confusion and mayhem as many were hoping the decision could be reversed, thus many did not collect their deposits from the travel agencies. This is grossly unfair and misleading bordering on fraud. Government must intervene to direct all the traveling agencies to refund the monies paid by the innocent pilgrims who are now finding it difficult to get their monies back.

The uncertainty surrounding the hajj is huge and no one knows when the Covid-19 will be defeated. It seems the strict measures that the Saudi Authorities have taken are bearing fruits. According to reports emanating from the kingdom, there are not more than 500,000 infections and the reported deaths have been 8,000. In a country with a population of 34 million inhabitants, this is a good result. Among the other measures, they introduced this year, including the use of electronic cards to pay for hotels, transportation to and from the religious sites, the use of robots to distribute Sam-sam water and ordering pilgrims not to physically touch the Kaba.

It is very sad indeed that the very people who go around condemning the profanities and false stories on social media are themselves engaged in the suppression of authentic information for personal benefits. Gambians are still not been told about the government’s official position about the hajj which is common knowledge globally. There is no need to sit on information just because certain private travel agencies don’t want to refund the deposits that the innocent have paid. This may be seen as a fraudulent practice.

Let us mark this holy day with repentance and forgiveness from Allah by invoking the Duah for the day: La illaha Illala LahulMulku Wa Lahul Hamdu Wa Huwa Allah Kulu Sai eenKhadir.

By:   A Concerned Citizen

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