Monrovia – About 325 Liberian Muslims have departed the country for the Islamic Holy City of Mecca, Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj Pilgrimage, aimed at fulfilling one of their greatest religious obligations.
The annual pilgrimage brings millions of Muslims from across the world to the holy land of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Hajj is observed for five days in the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The Liberian delegation departed the country for Mecca on Thursday, August 1, via the Roberts International Airport (RIA), Mr. Varney Sirleaf, Minister of Internal Affairs and member of the steering committee, said.
“The departure of Muslims to Hajj means a lot for the Muslim community, especially sending 325 under the able leadership of President George Weah. They will pray for Liberia, the leadership of the country, prosperity, peace and reconciliation, themselves and their families,” Sirleaf said.
The Internal Affairs Minister said President George M. Weah through his able leadership made available for 100 persons attending the pilgrimage, while private citizens contributed to the remaining 225 people.
According to him, there are prospects that the number of Liberian Muslims for the pilgrimage could increase in the coming years under the leadership of President Weah.
“We also have more women going this year. Most of those going are first time goers, because it’s not something that you keep going every time. People going have accepted the region and have not benefited or traveled to Mecca for Hajj, pilgrimage,” Sirleaf said.
According to Sirleaf, this is the first time in recent years for Liberia to send over 300 persons to Mecca for the event, indicating “This was done under the leadership of former President Charles Taylor with support from Muammar Gaddafi, the late President of Libya.”
Mr. Sirleaf said members of the delegation, especially those supported by President Weah through the United Ara^ Emirates (UAE) were selected from various counties, stating “some of the people called did not have passports and was already late for them to get passports.”
He said upon their return, the Liberian Muslims will pray for the country, including President Weah as well as the peace.
The steering committee this year, he noted, arranged for charter flight to take the delegation from Monrovia to Medina, and will return on August 27, 2019.
He revealed that the chartering of the flight is aimed at reducing the 24-hrs plus delay in Casablanca, Morocco during transit, stating “this is place you find thousands of Muslims transiting for Mecca and don’t want the Liberian delegation to encounter delay.”
He said Liberia economy is downward, but with prayers things will change for the good.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sirleaf said 2-day workshop was conducted to educate the Liberian delegation, especially the pictorial of the Mosque, “stating you have over five millions people gathering to pray and sometime, you get lost because of the many gates despite been numbered.”
The Hajj ritual is traced back to the time of the Prophet Abraham by Muslims. It is a religious obligation to embark on Hajj at least once in a lifetime of every Muslim who can afford it.
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