Oyo intending pilgrims undergo Hajj simulation, receive safety tips

THE Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing), on Wednesday and Thursday, sensitised intending pilgrims to the process of performing Hajj Mabrur (accepted Hajj) and how to achieve this without compromising personal safety.

The highlight of the seminar, held at the Hajj Camp, Olodo, Ibadan, was a reproduction of the essential features of Hajj to familiarise the prospective pilgrims with the real situation as they prepare to participate in the world’s largest annual spiritual gathering in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

At the event organised by the board, in conjunction with the Muslim Community of Oyo State and the state chapter of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), the intending pilgrims from across the state received verbal instructions from experienced tutors and participated in the practical training session, led by the chairman of the board, Alhaji Taofeek Akeugba-gold.

According to Akeugba-gold, the seminar was meant to prepare the intending pilgrims in every respect for the reality in Mecca and other venues used for Hajj as well as consolidate on the track record of the board in the holy land.

“We started the practical demonstration, the first of its kind in Nigeria, last year and we were highly commended for it by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria. Even we were given awards by two groups in Abuja.

“We copied the idea from the Malaysian and Indonesian Hajj systems. Today, we are adding another feather with this seminar on possible dangers during Hajj exercise and how to avert them. And Alhamdulillah, our lecturers have done their best and all the [intending] pilgrims really appreciate our effort.

“We are trying to prepare their minds for possible dangers during the Hajj exercise. There are danger signals and we are trying to teach them to recognise such signals so that they can take precautions. We want them to go there prepared,” the renowned preacher said.

However, he noted that the best way to avoid danger in the Hajj exercise is prayer, saying the intending pilgrims needed to put their trust in Allah.

“They should not rely on their strength, capability or wealth. What they should do is to rely on Allah. Prayer is very essential when it comes to protection during Hajj exercise,” he added.

He described the seminar as the end of the board’s orientation programme for Hajj 2016 in Nigeria, saying the rest of the programme would be taking place in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Alhaji Akeugba-gold gave the assurance that in two weeks, Oyo State would start to airlift its pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

“We are hoping that by August 8, the first batch of our pilgrims will be in Saudi Arabia. Our preparations are in top gear. We have reached about 95 percent level of preparations. Today, we will give them some materials like uniforms and bags to use for the Hajj exercise. But the material they need most is orientation and prayer,” he said.

He urged the intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Oyo State and Nigeria by following instructions and adhering to the rules and regulations of the authorities throughout their stay in Saudi Arabia.

A representative of the Muslim Community of Oyo State, Alhaji Abdul Rasak Olajide; a former coordinator of NACOMYO in the state, Alhaji Moshood Akintola and a scholar, Dr Sharafdeen Gbadebo gave talks on proper conduct and dangers to avoid, especially during the critical five days of performing Hajj rites.

In a sermon, renowned preacher, Sheikh Muyideen Bello, described piety as the only article of trade between the pilgrim and Allah in the performance of valid Hajj.

He urged all Muslims willing to participate in the holy pilgrimage to be God-conscious as a condition for the performance of acceptable Hajj.

Sheikh Bello advised any intending pilgrims lacking fear of God or nursing the idea of engaging in frivolities and base desires in the holy land not to waste their time. Rather than embark on the spiritual journey, he advised such people not to hesitate to ask for the refund of their Hajj fee from the board.

The Sabigana of Iganna, Oba Abdul Azeez Oyemonla and his wife, Olori Latifat Omolola, were among those who participated in the seminar.