Hyderabad: After the gap of two years, Haj operations commenced in Telangana with the conduct of the first orientation training camp on Wednesday. A group of selected pilgrims were explained the logistics of Haj and how they should prepare for the journey ahead. Pilgrims who have not taken the COVID vaccination yet were asked to take both the dozes without any further delay. If the vaccination certificate is not produced they wouldn’t get the Haj visa, said B. Shafiullah, Executive Officer, Telangana State Haj Committee.
This apart 72 hours before departure, pilgrims have to take the RT-PCR test and get a negative report. This is something new for the Hajis this year. For the first time again luggage for the pilgrims has been standardised by the Haj Committee of India. They have to carry only two suitcases of specific dimensions along with a handbag. These will be supplied by the Haj Committee of India.
On account of the COVID pandemic, the annual Haj pilgrimage was a washout in 2020 and 2021. Even this year uncertainty prevailed till the government of Saudi Arabia announced its decision to allow international pilgrims. However, Haj 2022 is a much scaled down affair with only 80,000 pilgrims allowed to perform Haj. Of them 76,000 will undertake the journey through State Haj Committees and the remaining through private tour operators. A total of 3500 pilgrims have been selected to perform Haj from both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. From Telangana 1822 pilgrims are selected from among the 4595 applicants.
The highest number of 750 pilgrims are from Hyderabad and the least number from Yadadri – just two.
Pilgrims thronged the Hitech Function Hall in Wahid Nagar, Old Malakpet, where the first training camp was held. Newly appointed Haj Committee chairman, Mohammed Saleem, assured the pilgrims that all possible facilities would be provided to them to make their journey comfortable. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao was particular that money should not be a constraint in extending facilities to the pilgrims. The State Haj Committee would be working in three shifts to attend to the needs of the pilgrims. Even after they leave for Saudi Arabia, the Committee would be in contact with the Indian diplomatic mission in Jeddah to ensure their safety and comfort, Saleem said.
He said interested pilgrims would be provided accommodation in the Rubath (guest house) of Nizam at Makkah. The Rubath administrator, Hussain Shareef, would be contacted and requested to provide accommodation to Telangana pilgrims. Also it was proposed to transport the pilgrims from the Haj House to the Rajiv Gandhi Airport in air-conditioned buses in view of the prevailing hot summer.
Mufti Khaleel Ahmed of Jamia Nizamia, explained the nitty-gritty of Haj and urged the pilgrims to develop the quality of patience as they would need it abundantly in the journey ahead. Rigour is part of Haj and in spite of comforts there would be many challenges to face because of the sheer number of pilgrims converging at one place. There would be many challenges and vexatious moments in Haj and one needs to be tolerant all the time.
Dwelling at length on Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam, the Mufti said unlike other acts of worship like namaz, zakat and fasting it has to be done at the same place and on the given dates. Sincerity is the cornerstone of Haj and one should perform it for the sake of Allah and not for name and fame or for any other self-serving motive.