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Feature Article of Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Columnist: Abdul-Hameed, Abdul-Salam

My Message to the Next Ghanaian Hajj Committee

I am reacting to the news that the Hajj Committee has been dissolved
(Ghanaweb.com, Hajj Committee dissolved, 10 January 2013). I am pleased it
is dissolved, but I pray that, this action is for the betterment of future
Hajj process in Ghana, and not as it may be perceived, for political gains
and personal interest of some (greedy) individuals. My message, which I'm
conveying through this article, is therefore intended for the next Hajj
Committee.

I did not study in Saudi Arabia nor have I performed my Hajj yet, but I
have enough number of Ghanaian friends who have studied there, that enables
me to understand how bad the situation is, for our mothers and fathers who
go for Hajj under the Hajj Committee, over the years. Also, the countless
remarks given by my non-African friends who have gone for Hajj, give the
impression of how bad the condition, in which Africans hajjis perform their
Hajj, is. The Ghanaian hajjis are not exception.

It doesn't matter, as far as Ghanaian Hajj goers are concerned, from which
political parties the next committee will be hunted from. What matters, to
them, is the credibility of the committee, and its readiness to serve the
Ghanaian hajji wholeheartedly.

Double thumbs up for Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the well-organized
countries, when we talk about how hajjis are managed, served, educated and
spiritually elevated. This is the praise that is constantly showered on the
Indonesian Hajj delegates by Arabs and by truthful Africans, as well. Truth
be told, among African Hajj delegates, the Ghanaian delegate is known to be
among the most disorganized.

This doesn’t mean Ghanaians are not organized. It is simply means, that the
Hajj Committee has been hijacked by greedy members, who only serve their
personal interest, more than they serve the interest of their clients (the
Ghanaian Hajjis in this case) and their country, Ghana, over the years.

In Singapore, a Hajj candidate may be in a waiting list for five years.
This allows the candidate to prepare themselves knowledge wise and
spiritual wise for the lifelong journey. Ghanaian Hajj goers may not need
to wait for five years, in a list, but it’s also not acceptable for them to
go for Hajj without being equipped with enough knowledge pertaining Hajj
and voyage. This system, which reflects well on countries, where such
delegates come from, is developed and maintained by the ‘Hajj Committees’
of such countries.

The Ghanaian Hajj agents need to understand, that the moment they agree to
sign a contract with the government of Ghana through the Hajj committee, to
serve Ghanaians Hajj delegates, they therefore bear the responsibility and
liability, and hence, they become answerable before Ghanaians and before
God. God comes in the picture, whether one believes in Him or not, but the
Hajj goers and majority of Ghanaians do believe in God.

Once chosen for the deal, agents must put their political affiliation (and
their greediness) aside, and serve the people of Ghana wholeheartedly. They
should not only care about collecting money and leaving their clients
stranded, with some of the hajji, in some cases, failing to perform their
Hajj accordingly, although had been arrived in Saudi Arabia. This would
ensure that the money they gain from such business is blessed, for them and
for their loved ones.

Could you imagine, that some agents even cheat on the hajji, on the goods
and souvenirs they buy back home? Instead of helping them to get good
bargain when shopping, they mediate between the pilgrims and shop owners to
cheat on the innocent hajji from their own country. What a shame!

Ghanaian students studying in Saudi Arabia over the years have always been
ready to serve their mothers and fathers who come for Hajj, just like
students of other nationals devote themselves towards Hajj delegates of
their respective countries. But sadly, sometimes, they (the Ghanaian
students) are denied contact with the hajjis, simply because the agents are
afraid to be exposed of their immoral conducts.

The few times their offer to help was accepted, they had to find
accommodation for themselves, and bear their expenses of helping the
Ghanaian hajjis. This is at the time that agents of other nationals realize
to “do what is right”, by taking care of the needs of such students, as
long as they are available to serve of the hajjis of their countries.
Meeting the basics in carrying responsibilities like this make the Hajj
process of such countries merry, because they fully rely on their nationals
studying in the Kingdom.

To end my article, I would like to suggest to the Hajj Committee the
following:

- Assign agents with credibility for future Hajj delegations.
- Assign for such agents minimum standards to meet, and they bear
responsibility for failure to meet it.
- Educate the Ghanaian Hajj goers holistically before their departure.
This education should be done months, ahead of their departure.
- Conduct mandatory Hajj (religious) class for all Hajj candidates.

Finally, I once again, hope the dissolution of the Hajj Committee may be in
the good interest of the people of Ghana, and will not be for serving
political interest of political parties or other hidden agendas.

Please save Ghana the mess! Save Ghana the shame!

God bless Ghana!

Allah knows best.

Allahu Hafiz J
Abdul-Salam Abdul-Hameed
GSalam Writer (www.gsalam.net, www.gsalamwriter.com)

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