No fewer than 1,869 Lagos State pilgrims currently performing the 2024 holy pilgrimage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will depart Makkah for Mina to begin the major Hajj rites, which fall between the eighth and twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month in the lunar months.

According to the Amir-ul-Hajj, Hon. Olanrewaju Ibrahim Layode, the pilgrims will begin their movement to Mina between midnight and the early hours of Friday, which is the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah, from where they will proceed to the plain of Mount Arafah, also known as Jabal Rahmah, on the ninth day (Saturday).

He stressed further that in the evening of the ninth day, the pilgrims are to depart from the plain of Arafah and proceed to Musdalifah, where they will observe both Solatul Magrib and Ishai, pick 49 pebbles each, relax briefly overnight and then move to the Jamarat on the 10th day (Sunday) to throw seven pebbles at the Shaetan (Satan).

The throwing of pebbles continues on days 11 and 12, respectively.

On the 10th day (Sunday), Muslims (who are not pilgrims) all over the world are expected to slaughter sacrificial rams in celebration of Eid-el-Kabir.

Layode emphasised that the throwing of pebbles exercise shall be performed for three days consecutively, beginning from the tenth to the twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah. He added that the pilgrims would leave Mina in the evening and return to Makkah, where they would stay till they were airlifted back to Nigeria.

The Amir-ul-Hajj, who described Dhul Hijjah as a sacred month and time for heightened devotion, reflection, and acts of worship, appealed to the pilgrims to take advantage of the period to pray fervently for themselves, Lagos State and Nigeria at large. He stressed that Arafah is a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’, hence, everyone should tap the opportunity to seek Allah’s favour, forgiveness and mercy.

He assured them that they would be accommodated in ‘Tent B plus’, which gives substantial comfort with provision of a bedspread, pillow, duvet, rechargeable handfan,  umbrella and finger counter to be taken away by them as gifts.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic matters, Dr. Ahmad Abdullahi Jebe, praised the pilgrims for their patience, perseverance, and understanding, saying that their conduct is very impressive and satisfactory. He prayed to Allah to accept all their supplications as an act of Ibaadah.

On his part, the Board Chairman, Imam (Engr.) Shakiru Ayinde Gafar, said that the main lessons Allah intended to teach Muslims across the world are equality and endurance. He stated that every pilgrim, no matter his/her status, must put on the Ihram (two pairs of white clothes by males and a long gown by women) while in Mina, Arafat and Musdalifah. This, he said, signifies equality and that no human being is superior to another before Allah.

Furthermore, he encouraged them to be mindful of the significance of the Mina and Arafah event and see others as equal in every environment they may find themselves in.

Speaking on the successes recorded by the State so far with the 2024 operations, the Board Secretary, Mr. Saheed Onipede, expressed his appreciation to Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat for their support.

He also appreciated the Amir-ul-Hajj, Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic Matters,   Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs. Lolade Aina, Board Chairman, Board members,  other stakeholders, and members of staff for their selfless service.

Onipede urged the pilgrims to remember to pray for peace and tranquility for Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general.