Dr. Jah expresses doubt over 2021 Hajj

May 7, 2021, 11:06 AM | Article By: Sulayman Waan

The chairman for the National Hajj Commission of The Gambia has expressed doubt on the observance of the 2021 hajj in Makkah, considering the limited time for the universal congregation.

In 2020, only few people within Saudi Arabia were allowed to perform the pilgrimage. Other countries across the world were not allowed to participate due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that locked down the whole world.

Speaking to The Point in an exclusive interview at Pilgrim Affairs Office in Bakau, Dr. Ousman Jah said: “Based on my experience, I do not believe hajj can happen this year because the time left for hajj is too short for preparation. Hajj preparation needs several months and now there is only one month left for pilgrims to commence.”

He said, he is doubtful of the happening of the 2021 pilgrimage due to the long preparation and operational needed. However, he said, unless the Saudi government puts mechanism in place to expedite the logistic and arrangement which is unknown to the commission yet.

Dr. Jah recalled that the Saudi government updated the world about the pilgrimage as early as five months before each year. However, he added, this year, neither the National Hajj Commission nor the Ministry of Religious of The Gambia has received information from the Saudi authorities concerning the annual convergence.

“No country in the world has received information from the Saudi government concerning pilgrimage,” he added.

He said there are many preparations that should take place before the pilgrimage, noting operators (travel agencies) should have to travel to Saudi Arabia to register and do other necessary logistics before coming back to the Gambia to announce their package to Makkah.

Speaking further, Chairman Jah noted that at this point, if the Saudi government approves pilgrims, it would take at least twenty days for the travel agencies to process visas to travel to Makkah.

He said after getting the visas, operators would travel to Saudi for at least two weeks for logistics before the pilgrims and later travel back home to announce their package for Makkah.

Moving forward, he said hajj preparation also takes much time for interested people to complete their transactions such as registering, possession of documents and taking medical certificates among other preparations.

In this regard, he reiterated his doubt over this year’s pilgrimage, saying it would only be possible if the Saudi government puts measures in place to fast track the hajj. 

Meanwhile, he said his office is waiting on Saudi to get updates about the pilgrimage and would update the population if any information reaches his desk.

Read Other Articles In Headlines
Sedia Bayo
Sedia Bayo declares support for Barrow
Jun 3, 2021, 12:22 PM

France born Gambian political activist, Sheikh Sedia Bayo, has declared his support for President Adama Barrow after launching a social political movement called "We Are Barrow" 2021.

Adama Conteh
Widow recounts husband’s disappearance
Mar 10, 2021, 12:44 PM

Adama Conteh, a widow of late Lamin Tunkara yesterday testified before the TRRC, narrating that her husband disappeared and allegedly killed by former president Yahya Jammeh’s government.

Lawyer Darboe v2
Darboe regrets yelling at Solo Sandeng before his killing Describes Him As Patriot
Apr 21, 2021, 12:41 PM

Secretary general and leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), has admitted that his greatest regret in life was shouting at Ebrima Solo Sandeng on the phone before he was allegedly killed by former state agents.

Lawyers argue over whether court can impose legal aid on 3 former NIA operatives
Jun 11, 2021, 5:16 PM

Lawyers in the ongoing trial of former officials of NIA have argued on whether the court can impose Legal Aid (NALA) on Baboucar Sallah, Tamba Masireh and Lamin Darboe who told the court they don’t want to be represented by NALA.