or the journey to the Holy Land of Makah is one of the most revered among the
Islamic pillars. For Muslims, it is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. It is
a journey of a lifetime, during which one is reminded of death and the
afterlife, and returns a renewed person.
Therefore, traveling for this important religious undertaking to Makah (Hajj) requires both spiritual and material preparation. Certain religious and logistical requirements must be met before one can set off for the trip.
A total of 1700 Gambian pilgrims were expected to perform this year’s hajj in the holy city of Makah from The Gambia. Looking at the figure, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number compare with previous years despite the exorbitant cost involve in the travel.
The Quran reminds all the believers to “take provisions with you for the journey, but the best of provisions is God-consciousness...” (2:197).
So spiritual preparation is key; one should be ready to face God with complete humility and faith. One should read books, consult with religious leaders, and ask God for guidance on how best to benefit from the Hajj experience.
Remember that this important religious practice is only required of those people who can financially afford to make the journey, and who are physically capable of performing the rites of pilgrimage.
Many Muslims in the world save up funds for their entire lives in order to make the journey just once in a life time. For others the financial impact is minimal. Since the pilgrimage is physically grueling, it is beneficial to engage in physical exercise in the months prior to travel.
It’s an important religious practice that attracts crowds of nearly 3-4 millions of believers from all over the world. The logistics of providing housing, transportation, sanitation, food, etc. for such large numbers of people require a great deal of coordination as well.
We want to take this opportunity to wish our intending pilgrims all the best and safe return.
“Among the lessons I learned on Hajj was that I needed to be mindful and keep the inner connection with God at all times and that self-improvement is definitely a never-ending struggle.”