Hajj com­mis­sion warns pil­grims against il­le­gal tour agen­cies

• S’ara­bia de­clares Au­gust 20 Arafah Day

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - From Mur­tala Ade­wale (Makkah)

NA­TIONAL Hajj Com­mis­sion of Nige­ria (NAHCON) yes­ter­day warned in­tend­ing pil­grims to pa­tro­n­ise only li­censed tour op­er­a­tors.

It cau­tioned them to re­sist any at­tempt by their travel agency to process their doc­u­ments in an­other coun­try. De­scrib­ing such act as il­le­gal, he said NAHCON would not be re­spon­si­ble for any loss.

In a state­ment signed by its spokesper­son, Fa­tima Us­ara, the com­mis­sion said it ap­proved 110 tour agen­cies for the 2018 hajj. She added that in­tend­ing pil­grims were ex­pected to have com­pleted all trav­el­ling ar­range­ments ahead of en­try dead­line. Although, Saudi Ara­bia is yet to of­fi­cially peg date for fi­nal en­try, Nige­rian pil­grims were al­lowed late en­try two days to Arafah last year.

“In­tend­ing pil­grims should en­sure that their pay­ments are duly re­ceipted and de­tails of pack­age on of­fer dis­closed to them.

“Pil­grims are strictly ad­vised against ac­cept­ing half-pack­aged visas, while all hajj-li­censed com­pa­nies should en­sure that their Saudi part­ners pro­vide ser­vices com­men­su­rate with the pack­age the clients paid for.

“In­tend­ing hajj pil­grims are equally warned not to pa­tro­n­ise any tour op­er­a­tor/travel agency that will ar­range pass­port or visa from an­other coun­try for the pur­pose of trav­el­ling to the holy land, as this is il­le­gal,” NAHCON noted.

Mean­while, Saudi Ara­bia has de­clared Mon­day, Au­gust 20, as Arafah Day, equiv­a­lent to the ninth day of Dhul­hajj 1439 in the Is­lamic cal­en­dar.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the se­cond day of Arafah, which is Tues­day, Au­gust 21, marks eid-ha­daya, the sal­lah fes­ti­val when Mus­lims of­fer an­i­mals for sac­ri­fice.

Arafah Day is spe­cial in Is­lam, as over two mil- lion pil­grims from across the world con­verge on Mount Arafat to of­fer spe­cial prayers as part of hajj rites.

The Hara­main, the supreme author­ity in charge of the two mosques in Makka and Me­d­ina, headed by Sheikh Ab­dul Rah­man Su­dais, de­clared that the moon was sighted on Satur­day, which made yes­ter­day first of Dhul-hajj 1439.

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