Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca and it’s related religious Cities, is the fifth pillar of Islam and every Muslim who is CAPABLE, is required to perform, at least, once in his or her lifetime.
The Hajj process has been one of the hot political issues, since the inception of the fourth republic, this must be a source of worry to every Muslim in particular and the Ghanaian at large.
I set out to write on this topic yesterday in a reaction to what the Vice President, Dr BAWUMIA said at Kumasi yesterday.
According to the News item, the Veep is reported to have said at an Islamic Program in Kumasi that;
The president wish to announce to the muslim community in ghana that, the cost of hajj for 2018 is ghs 15,000.00, same as it was last year.
I decided not to write but to seek further information and to confirm what I heard.
Just this evening, on my way home from the office, I heard another News item on radio in which the Chairman of the Hajj Board, Sheikh I.C. Quaye is reported to have said that, the actual cost of Hajj for this year is GHS 18,500.00 but that the Government has decided to subsidize it, hence the stated cost of GHS 15,000.00.
Immediately I got confused, sad and very worried.
Government subsidizing the cost of Hajj? I know this might not be the first Government to do this, Governments want to take credit for keeping the cost stable, hence the practice of this subsidy.
Irrespective of how long this practice has been going on, and how many Governments have done it before, it is my candid and humble opinion that, the practice is wrong and it’s an insult to our faith.
Hajj is a private individual contract between a CAPABLE Muslim and his Maker, the use of State resources to facilitate this is wrong.
What we must understand is that Hajj is not compulsory to all Muslims, it’s compulsory to only CAPABLE Muslims. Why then must Government have to take part of the cost simply because the actual cost will be a burden to Muslims?
I very much agree with those who hold the view that looking at the nature of Hajj, it must be facilitated by Government, which is true. The facilitation should be in the areas of issuance of travel passports, Visa acquisition, international travel facilitation, the safety of Pilgrims, enforcement of international travel regulations and several other related issues.
IT MUST NOT GET TO THE POINT WHERE GOVERNMENT PROVIDES SUBSIDY FOR THE PROCESS, NO AND NOT AT ALL.
EVEN IN THE WORSE CASES, GOVERNMENTS HAVE BEEN SPONSORING THE ENTIRE COST OF THEIR POLITICAL ACTIVISTS, LET THE ULAMA TELL US THE VALIDITY OF SUCH HAJJ.
This practice amounts to injustice, in my humble opinion, since the resources of this country do not belong to only Muslims.
I hereby call on the Government, to as a matter of urgency, dissolve the Hajj Board and allow private individuals and businesses help prospective pilgrims to fulfil their religious obligation.
MAY ALLAH BLESS US WITH WHAT WE NEED TO PERFORM Hajj WITHOUT GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY.