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Opinions Wed, 16 Jan 2013

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)

Columnist: Abdul-Hameed, Abdul-Salam