The International Hajj Symposium, a three-day event organized by the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) kicked off on Thursday in the capital Ankara.
Nigeria, represented by the Chairman/CEO, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCOn, Alhaji Zhikrullah Hassan; Turkish and foreign scholars attended the symposium. Others in attendance were Cheif Executives of Hajj agencies from Sudan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Germany, Malaysia, Canada, Pakistan among others are attending the symposium. The meeting will discuss how the sacred pilgrimage held every year in Saudi Arabia has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic amid the limitations and restrictions.
The programme themed “Hajj In the Context of Changing and Developing Conditions.”
In an opening speech, the Turkish Minister of Religious Affairs, who is also the President of Religious Affairs Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, the host, said that they want to bring a “new perspective” to the hajj and its organization in light of the new age we are in. “The symposium will discuss every aspect of hajj, from fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) dimension to its sociological impact, cultural reflections to health and education. It will shed light on development of hajj organizations since the early days of Islam. It will seek answers to contemporary challenges to organizing hajj. I hope it will also offer a comprehensive response to assess the pilgrimage at the time of pandemic,” he said.
Erbaş noted that it has been one year since the pandemic began and few were able to perform the pilgrimage last year, adding that since February 2020, people from a handful of countries were allowed to perform umrah, a lesser pilgrimage.
“We pray to Allah that this pandemic will be over. Hajj is symbol of unity for the faithful. There is no other form of prayer that brings together such multitude of people from different races, languages, countries. The pandemic deprived us of this,” he expressed.
Among the topics tabled fo discussion at the event are the children’s pilgrimage, the time of stoning the devil (a ritual which is part of pilgrimage), women’s hajj and umrah in the context of privacy, objectives of religious laws on hajj canceled during the epidemic, hajj organization in free market conditions and the history of hajj practices.
The NAHCON Chairman/CEO Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan led Nigeria delegation to the sympposium. Among them are Ag. SOC Alhaji Ahmad Maigari and S.A. Tech, Dr. Danbaba Haruna.
The program was organized by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs, under the Chairmanship of Prof. Ali Erbaş, the Turkish Minister of Religious Affairs.
The International Symposium on Hajj is hosting amongst others: The Chief Executives of Hajj Missions from across the World, Academicians, Intellectuals as well as Hajj Veterans, who were invited to make a presentation and proffer viable solutions on some issues regarding Global Hajj Management.