Nigerian Muslins visiting Saudi Arabia on the annual hajj pilgrim will no longer participate in the annual ritual of stoning the devil as part of new measures designed to guard against a repeat of this year’s stampede in which over 1,000 died.
About 2m Muslims are performing the religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia this year, of whom about 70,000 are Nigerians. During a stampede this year when the faithful participated in the annual ritual of stoning the devil at the Kaaba in Mina, at least 75 Nigerians are thought to have died in a stampede.
To prevent a reoccurrence, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, the emir of Kano and the amirul hajj has said Nigerians will no longer participate in the stoning of the devil ritual except they get accommodation close to Jamrat in Mina. Jamrat is the place where the Hajj ritual is performed.
Emir Sanusi quoted several Koranic verses and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad to support his stance. He added that the refusal to even perform the stoning of devil ritual does not in any way invalidate one’s hajj.
“If one deliberately refuses to even perform the stoning of the devil rituals, all he needs to do is just to slaughter a ram in order to make up for the loss. So, if this is the situation, why do we go and suffer and die instead of sacrificing a ram?’’ the emir added.
According to Emir Sanusi, during the era of Prophet Muhammad, he permitted pilgrims who came on camels to stay in Mecca in order for their animals to get some rest after Arafat, instead of staying in Mina and sleeping at Muzdalifa. He then challenged Islamic scholars to educate Muslims on how to perform hitch-free hajj, without unnecessary bloodshed or he himself will start a campaign in this regard.
Emir Sanusi said: “So, if the prophet can give such grace to some people just to protect their animals, why didn’t our scholars educate our people properly to avoid this avoidable hardship and death? Therefore, it will be part of my recommendation to the federal government that, if we cannot get accommodation close to Jamarat where the Arabs reside in Mina, then this year may be the last time we will sleep in Mina and Muzdalifa because we want to stone the devil.
“As it is presently, sleeping in Mina and Muzdalifa is not backed by any Hadith or verses of the Qur’an. So, why do we continue to do it?”
In addition, the emir reiterated his earlier position that blacks, particularly Nigerians, were not responsible for the Mina stampede which claimed about 1,000 lives. According to him, Nigeria has no fundamental disagreement with the Saudi authorities but they must understand that no human being is superior to another in the sight of Allah, except he who fears Allah most.
So far, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has given the latest death figure of Nigerians in last week’s Hajj stampede as 75. According to Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed, the commission’s chairman, 54 out of 75 pilgrims who died in the stampede were from states’ delegation, while 20 were international pilgrims who used private tour operators.
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