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BrKhalid
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« on: Oct 28, 2008 02:35 PM »


South African arrivals herald beginning of Hajj season

Siraj Wahab I Arab News —
 
 
JEDDAH: The first group of pilgrims arrived yesterday for Haj 2008 at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport. The Cape Town-to-Jeddah flight via Dubai brought in nearly 200 pilgrims, both men and women, from South Africa.


The first to emerge in the reception area after completing immigration formalities was 73-year-old Abbas Jones. “This will be my 30th Haj,” he said excitedly to waiting reporters. He was embraced by Abdulwahid B. Saifaddin, chairman of the establishment of pilgrims from non-Arab African countries, and Mahdi Basadien, South Africa’s consul general in Jeddah.

“Every year I have seen tremendous improvements in Haj services. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Saudi government and our pilgrim establishment for their efforts in making our journey comfortable,” Jones said. “It’s always a great feeling to be in this holy land, and it’s an equally great feeling to be among the first group of arrivals for this Haj season.”

Cape Towner Farida Osman was also in the group. “We are so happy to be here. The first leg of the journey was very smooth. God has been very kind to us,” she said.

While Osman was talking to Arab News, her husband joined in the discussion. “I am 63,” said Mohammed Salig. “This was the same age when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed Haj. I can’t express my happiness in being here. This journey has been planned for an entire lifetime,” Salig said.

Saifaddin said all arrangements were in place for the pilgrims’ stay in Makkah and Madinah.

He said his establishment will take care of nearly 180,000 pilgrims this year. “There is a marked increase in the number of pilgrims from non-Arab African countries this year. Last year we only handled 162,000 pilgrims,” he said.

Initial reports suggest there will be no effect of the global economic crisis on Haj. “We have not seen any impact for the moment. One reason for that perhaps is the advance preparation that goes into Haj arrangements. All these pilgrims paid their money far in advance, and their accommodation arrangements in the holy cities were finalized maybe six months ago. This economic crisis started only recently,” Saifaddin said.

Nigeria will be well represented this year. “The largest group (of non-Arab Africans) is from Nigeria. There will be 95,000 Nigerians this year,” Saifaddin said. “The smallest contingent will be from Swaziland.”

Among the other countries handled by Saifaddin’s establishment are Cameroon, Niger, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mauritius.

Basadien said the South African Consulate was ready to assist the guests of God.

“We will have 5,000 pilgrims from South Africa this year,” he said. “We have an official quota of 2,000, but the Saudi authorities have always been very generous in granting whatever number we request.”

The Haj quota is based upon a nation’s Muslim population. According to previous estimates, South Africa’s Muslim population is less than a million, and the number of pilgrims from South Africa has actually gone down.

“We used to have 7,500 pilgrims,” said the consul general. “The number went down to 5,000 last year. And this year, too, we will have the same number performing Haj. One reason for the drop in the numbers is the Saudi rules and regulations that bar people from performing Haj in quick succession.”

According to Mohammed Amin Hartly, a member of the South African Haj Mission, the fluctuation of currency rates has made Haj a costly proposition for South African pilgrims. “On an average the pilgrimage used to cost SR8,000 earlier. This year it will cost around SR10,000,” Hartly said.

The South African pilgrims will stay in the Aziziyah and Ruseifah areas. Somewhat removed from the Holy Mosque, the buildings are new and complete with all basic amenities.

Many of the buildings in Makkah’s central district that once used to house South African pilgrims have been demolished to make way for better buildings either in the planning stage or under construction.

The arrival of the first group of pilgrims heralds the start of the 45-day Haj season that peaks in the plains of Arafat, near Makkah, on Dec. 7

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=115845&d=28&m=10&y=2008
 
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jannah
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 28, 2008 09:21 PM »

salam,

SubhanAllah. 45 days till Hajj and they're already there!! That's the way to do it... like days of old.. people would arrive for Ramadan and just stay. One day if I go to Hajj again I want to go with a group that does these looong stays. Imagine the build up of seeing new people and groups every day until the height at yawm al arafat!! So beautiful  :'(
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tq
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 29, 2008 03:46 PM »

Assalamo elikuim
Before I did haj and umrah, I used to say that I only want to do haj once and always used to wonder when people used to say that they are going for haj again or 3 time, thinking we should give other this opportunity also.
But now after being to Kaba,Mina ,Masjid Nabawi  I want to go again and again and again. I can now understand why anyone who has been once wants to go again.
Jannah, people from Pakistan (and I think India also) goes for 45 days. I remember when we went for haj same year my sister-in-law came for haj from Pakistan and they stayed for 45 days! .
May Allah swt bless all of us who havent perfomred haj, with haj and also those who have done it, with another haj or atleast umrah Smiley Ameen.

Wasalam
tq
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Shahida
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 13, 2008 07:46 AM »

salam

MashaAllah, that's so nice to read!  Goooo SA!

When we went for Hajj, we stayed for 7 weeks...and there were packages for 8 weeks.  But they have changed the system a bit, and the longest stay is 6 weeks, and sub7anAllah, it costs so much, I dont know how people afford it.

Wow, 30 Hajjs? mashaAllah.  I knew a lady who went for 27 years consecutively!!! 

Hajj has become really really expensive (and you have to stay in azizia or some place outside makkah proper)...

May Allah swt make it easy for them (and all of us) and accept their Hajj.
Salam
S. hijabisis
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BrKhalid
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 13, 2008 08:08 AM »

Asalaamu Alaiukm  bro


Quote
When we went for Hajj, we stayed for 7 weeks...and there were packages for 8 weeks.  But they have changed the system a bit, and the longest stay is 6 weeks, and sub7anAllah, it costs so much, I dont know how people afford it.


Indeed, I know someone from Cape Town who went for that long and I thought 3 weeks from the UK was a long time!!!


Good to see you around Sr Shahidah


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« Reply #5 on: Nov 14, 2008 01:12 AM »

wsalaam,

Yes i definitely envied the 3 weeker UKers. The packages from the US are 10 days to 2 weeks for the "extended" stay and 1 week for the "executive" stay.

I always wondered why some people never changed after Hajj, but if they're only going for like a week and are more than likely sick during that week it's probably so rushed it's hard to take it in. What a difference it would be for people to go for a month or more. Maybe they should mandate that along with the 1 hajj=1 lifetime rule!!

ws
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Mohamed
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 14, 2008 07:09 AM »

I did a umrah n yes said too: next time it will be haj inshaallah but cose its expensive not sure when! plz  pray for me Smiley

Also its not easy for me i went to umrah with mum, one of my sisters, my wife and my son ( he was only 4 yrs old) ...  I think that everyone now want to return again with me

ppl should think twice how to spend their money, there are a lot of good way ( duties )...

Oh here ppl go for 30 days

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Sr.Kathy
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 14, 2008 02:25 PM »

Maybe they should mandate that along with the 1 hajj=1 lifetime rule!!

asak
I am all for this too! Except I would suggest- 3 times per life. So many Hajjis I talked to got caught up in the negative aspects- crowds, peoples bathrooms- a real culture shock. I know they wish to do their Hajj again. 2nd time to perform their rites and a third time to enjoy the nuances.
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BrKhalid
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 18, 2008 10:19 AM »

Asalaamu Alaikum  bro


Quote
but if they're only going for like a week and are more than likely sick during that week it's probably so rushed it's hard to take it in


I seriously don't think you can really appreciate Hajj if you only do it in a week (first timers that is)


How about this for a reasonable excuse to go three times for brothers:


First on your own

Second with your wife

Third with your daughter bro
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Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]

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