By Al-Qalam Reporter
The announcement by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah that only 1132 South Africans would be eligible to perform Hajj this year has caused consternation amongst prospective Hujjaj who feel they may never go to the Holy Land at this low rate.
The quota for South Africans is less than half the previous quota of 2 500 hujjaj allowed in pre-covid times.
Other countries are also facing reduced quotas. For instance Mauritius (672); Turkey 37, 770; Pakistan 81 770; India (79, 237; Bangladesh 57,585, Afghanistan; 13 582 and Sri Lanka 1585
The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) put out a post saying it was assessing the Haj 2022/1443AH guidelines that it received from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, adding that it will soon release the Accreditation List. The selected Hajj operators is also expected to be announced.
The Saudis have given no explanation for the worldwide reduction of Hujjaj to the Holy Land, which is expected to be approximately one million only – about half the usual quota.
Social media was abuzz with a wide array of comments on all platforms with some saying we should be grateful that at least 1132 fortunate hujjaj would be able to perform Haj after a hiatus of two years while others believe SAHUC should have been proactive in fighting for a higher quota for South Africa.
One commenter, Sumaya Amod, wrote on Facebook: “At this rate, most of us on the list will not live to see hajj. How do other countries manage their Hajj system? When someone queries this type of system, they are quickly silenced with Quranic quotes and Hadith.
In reply, a SAHUC official wrote: Wslm. Other countries also have a waiting list and queue for first time Hujjaj. Speak to Indonesia, Malaysia and see how long they wait before being accredited for Hajj. Current system for Accreditation is based on date and time priority of registration for fairness towards everyone (rich, poor, old, young). We are open to suggestions, please propose for consideration.”
Another person, Fatima Haffejee posted a comment with an emoji: “I was told I completed my hajj. Allah knows how that happened when I’ve never been.”
Others had a dig at SAHUC.
Zubair Hoosen wrote: “Honestly I cannot comprehend how they went for big discussions to get a thousand??. What will a thousand do when the list is 2 500….we dealing with incapable organizations!”
SAHUC replied to him: “Wslm, SAHUC did not go for any protocol meetings this year. Limited quota this year due to Saudi government reducing Hajj numbers.”
Saajida Sujee wrote: Alhamdulilah, shukr we South Africans get a chance to perform Haj this year.
And then there was Nadia Abrahams who had a novel idea. She wrote: “President Ramaphosa cancelled his trip to Saudi. Should he decide to go, he must speak to the prince.”
On SAHUCS’s Instagram portal, comments were just as varied.
Asmaloo wrote: Blaming Sahuc, Saudi Government and anybody else doesn’t make sense. When your calling is there to go, you will go.”
Kamishnur had similar sentiments: Let’s mot finger point, remember Allah invites us for this sacred journey. We make duah that Allah fulfills what’s in our hearts, Ameen.