By Hajarat Rahman
About 3 million pilgrims from all over the world including Nigeria’s 76,000 are at present (Sunday morning) on Mount Arafah to pray and give supplications to Allah.
The pilgrims had since arrived Mina for the mandatory staying and praying on Mount Arafah. Any pilgrim who missed the Arafah Day did not perform Hajj for the year. A day after staying in Mount Arafah is observed as Eid-el-Kabir day by Muslims all over the world.
Around 2,000 pilgrims from Lagos State are participating in the hajj.
The arrival of Nigerian pilgrims along with those from across the world earlier in Mina en route Arafah was confirmed by the Executive Secretary of Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Muftau Okoya while welcoming Nigerian pilgrims to Mina.
Mina is one of the four sacred places the pilgrims will visit and its a stop on the way to Mount Arafah.
In his explanation, the pilgrims will move from Mina to Arafat where they will remain until sunset, making supplications.
“They will then proceed to Muzdalifa and stay the night. The next morning they will return to Mina and wait for the time schedule that will be released by the Saudi Government to proceed to Jamarat which will last for three days.
He stressed that the rites will be rounded off with Tawaf at the ancient Kaaba as well as the Safa and Marwa.
“Pilgrims are expected to be on their ihram for the first three days in Mina. The state of Ihram stipulates that men tie two pieces of fabric on their body while women are allowed to wear any color of covered cloth. The pilgrims will make their intentions and glorify God for the opportunity they have to answer His clarion call”.
Okoya also said, “The Lagos State Pilgrims are accommodated in tents. All thanks to the commitment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s drive at ensuring the comfort of the people in the holy land.
Chairman of Ulamahs, Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Imam Olojeoola, corroborates Okoya,
“The tents have desert air conditioners, fans and comfortable rest rooms are in place to create a condusive atmosphere for the pilgrims”.
As the hajj rites commences in earnest, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef, urged pilgrims to ensure strict compliance with all rules and regulations guiding the exercise.
He also urged Muslims all over the World who are not in Saudi Arabia for 2016 Hajj to fast on the day of Arafat to get their sins of two years forgiven as said by Prophet Mohammed (SAW) in his Hadith.
He urged pilgrims to take advantage of the period to pray for the country to recover from the present economic recession, adding that pray has a great impact in turning the fortune of the country around for the better.
Dr. Abdul Lateef advised pilgrims to desist from acts capable of rendering their hajj unacceptable by Allah.
In his message, Chief Imam of Ancient Haram, Kaaba, Mecca at Friday Jumat service, warned pilgrims to desist from the act of picking what does not belong to them with intent to convert it as personal belonging.