Hajj Board Chair interacts with pilgrims in Mecca ahead southern sector airlifting

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The Head of the Ghana Hajj Board, Ben Abdallah Banda, has visited the remaining Ghanaian Hajj pilgrims who are yet to return home at their various apartments in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. 

So far, about 50 percent of Ghanaian pilgrims from the northern part of the country have returned home, and the rest are scheduled to start arriving in Accra from Monday, July 17.

On Sunday evening, the Chairman of the Hajj Board, together with some board members, visited the various Ghanaian camps in Mecca to interact with Ghanaian pilgrims.

During his interactions, he briefed the pilgrims on arrangements made for their airlifting back home, as well as delving into Hajj operations this year.

He said, as a human institution, the Hajj Board could not have got everything right to the satisfaction of pilgrims, and he assured them of changes to address these challenges to improve Hajj service.

“Ghana Hajj Board is a human institution, and surely, we could not have had everything right,” he said.

“I want to take this opportunity to apologise to you all, on behalf of the board, for any inconvenience our actions or inactions may have caused you throughout this process.”

To ensure some mistakes are not repeated, he added that there will be some changes to ensure the best Hajj experience for Ghanaians.

“Whatever it is, the status quo is not going to remain. Insha Allah, things will change and we will have a marked improvement in our operations.”

The first flight carrying pilgrims to Accra is scheduled to take off on Monday, followed by four other daily flights.

About 2,000 northern sector Ghanaian pilgrims have already returned home through Tamale.

This year’s Hajj marked the first time Saudi authorities allowed full Hajj without restrictions, following the outbreak of Covid-19.

The Board Chairman was accompanied by many Board members, including Abdul Aziz Haruna Futa, Chief Saddique Jimala, Alhaji Yunusah Osman, Sheikh Amin Bonsu, Dr. Zakaria Seidu and Ahmed Abdulai Abu.

One of the five pillars of Islam central to Muslim belief, Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they are able; it is the most spiritual event that a Muslim experiences, observing rituals in the most sacred places in the Islamic world.

During this pilgrimage, pilgrims walk seven times around the sacred shrine called the Kaaba, in the Great Mosque, kiss or touch the Black Stone (al-Ḥajar al-Aswad) in the Kaaba, pray twice in the direction of the Maqām Ibrāhīm and the Kaaba, and run seven times between the minor prominences of Mount Ṣafā and Mount Marwah.

The Hajj pilgrimage is performed over five to six days. When the new crescent moon is sighted, Eid al Adha begins, which lasts for four days. The pilgrimage comprises a series of rites and rituals, some of which must be performed in order.

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