Mina Stampede: Death is inevitable

2015-09-25 16:53

The heart-breaking stampede in Mina has shocked and grieved every conscious driven individual.

For many pilgrims who had performed the hajj in the past it brought back some memories of other tragic incidents in which they have been personally involved or witnessed.

Mina is the largest tent city in the world and the site of many tragedies but to Muslims it is one of the most sacred valleys.

Mina is about five kilometres from the city of Makkah and it is where Muslims spend about four days in fireproof tents and perform the ritual of stoning pillars that symbolise Satan, the cursed devil.

Handling millions of people from different countries, race groups and cultures is not an easy task and for this the Hajj authorities need to be commended.

While this tragic incident underlines the need for more efforts to increase safety measures and questions has been raised, the importance of pilgrims’ negligence, self-awareness and self-discipline cannot be ignored and ruled out.

To quote Saudi health minister Khalid al-Falih: “Hajj stampede may have been caused by pilgrims who failed to follow instructions by authorities.”

A colleague of mine who is currently on pilgrimage re- affirms al-Falih’s statement “I completely agree, we were told to follow time tables for pelting and to follow routes but in haste many pilgrims, people even in wheel chairs, took shortcuts”.

In this regard hajj committees, agents or groups in every country must ensure that they fully educate their pilgrims about the protocol of the pilgrimage before they embark on this sacred journey.

To quote Shaheen Essop senior member of The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc): “If you are looking at hujaaj that are coming through from Muzdalifah, had they been informed of any restrictions on pelting times, where they informed of any road closures? , could they read the signs of the roads etc.”

In the final analysis, whilst we feel distressed, hurt and are all deeply saddened by this heartbreak, as Muslims we must remind ourselves of the verse of the Quran: “We created you from earth, and into it we shall return you, and from it we shall bring you out once again”.

Death is inevitable; it’s a reality that every living creature has to face. Every soul shall taste death.

How blessed and fortunate are these pilgrims. They will meet Almighty, their creator, in a state of purity and chanting his greatness.

To quote the Prophet Muhammad: “you will rise on the day of Resurrection in the state you have passed away.”

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