Photo courtesy of sheikh Esmael Ebrahim.

Almost 6,000 Muslims from the Philippines perform Hajj

MECCA, K.S.A. – Driven by their common will to complete the fifth pillar of Islam, an obligation for physically and financially abled followers of Islamic faith, almost 6,000 Muslims from the Philippines are performing pilgrimage in this Hajj season.

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Commissioner Abdulhadi Daguit, Chair of Hajj 2017, said in an interview last Saturday (Aug 26) that there are 5,967 Filipino Muslims in this holy city doing the required Hajj rituals.

An additional 30 Filipino pilgrims who arrived on August 23 are also in this town to perform Hajj as visitors of the King of Saudi Arabia under the “Guests Program of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Hajj.”

This makes the total number of pilgrims 5,997. However, there are four pilgrims from Lanao who perished according to Director Jack Kanda, the NCMF Head of Operation in Mecca Area.

The Filipino pilgrims are billeted in six different hotels near Masjidil Haraam.  

The NCMF set up the Philippine Hajj Affairs Office at the Abeer al Imaan Hotel for easy access among the pilgrims.

Twenty-one doctors and 19 nurses are providing medical assistance in the three clinics set up by the Commission. A standby ambulance is also ready to transport any patient during emergency situation.

“We are better and accessible hotels now compared to previous Hajj seasons,” Sheikh Samsonahar Dibagelen, one of the NCMF-accredited sheikhs, said in Maguindanaon vernacular.

He added, “We must be thankful that everything today is provided unlike during the time of the Holy Prophet.”

“Today we can buy food anytime or even cook our own food inside the hotels,” he related. He said the pilgrims may opt to walk towards Masjidil Haraam or take a taxi ride for ten Saudi riyals.

Kanda also related they received a complaint regarding a hotel room with defective air conditioning unit which the commission had acted upon.

He said to be able to get better or accessible hotels, it is good if the Filipino pilgrims can get reservation right after the Hajj season for the next year’s pilgrimage. 

“But this entails huge amount of money,” Kanda explained. Hotel requires 40% down payment for reservation and another 40% payment when the Hajj season nears.

Filipino pilgrims from provinces have to prepare 215,000 pesos to cover Hajj expenses.

The Filipino Guest Pilgrims are among the 1,400 pilgrims from 80 countries sponsored by Saudi’s King Salman to perform Hajj this year.

Photo courtesy of Gandhi Kinjiyo