Haj Saeed Hamid Jallo
Muslims have been called upon to reject any sponsorship for hajj by politicians, an exercise he say is not done in good faith by the politicians but to score cheap popularity. This call was made by Sheikh Yusuf Yakub Ibrahim, a renowned Islamic scholar based in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis.
“We did not vote for them to sponsor us for Hajj, the mandate was rather given them to bring development to our various communities.” The Sheikh said.
Politicians have over the years been sponsoring Islamic scholars, chiefs, women, as well as Muslims from all walks of life to travel to Saudi Arabia for the observance of hajj. This has been going on within all the regimes, especially in the fourth republic of Ghana’s political history.
The sheikh made these observations in the phone-in segment of the socio-Islamic programme, Tawheed, hosted by this writer on Kyzz 89.7 fm in Takoradi where the topic for discussion was centred on the Hajj and its observance.
“The Hajj, being the fifth pillar of Islam, is obligatory only on people who can afford to do so, therefore whoever fails to observe it without any reasons would have Allah to contend with. However failure to go on the Hajj due to lack of financial abilities is not held as a sin by Allah. Why then do we have to expect politicians to pay for us when it is not obligatory on us due to our financial constraints?” Sheikh Yusuf queried.
Sheikh Yusuf, who is seen by many as a controversial scholar for his candid remarks on issues went on to remind Muslims of their priority which he says is educational infrastructure.
“We lack schools in our communities, especially second cycle institutions, yet we keep on pestering politicians to sponsor us for Hajj instead of looking for what will sustain us and our children. I wish these politicians will hear my call and desist from sponsoring us for the Hajj and channel those funds into our developmental agenda, which is the reason for their election into office.” He stressed.
Meanwhile some of the callers-in to the programme were of the view that the funding for hajj sponsorship is not from the government as being suggested by some people, according to them it was rather from the Saudi Arabian government which is channelled through the government of Ghana for distribution.
This claim was opposed by others who revealed that successive governments have been using the taxpayer’s money to do this for their parochial political interest. They contended that this phenomenon is not the preserve of one political party, since it was happening during the tenure of the NPP under president Kufour.
When asked whether a politically sponsored hajj lacks the reward and blessing that goes with the hajj, Sheikh Yusuf said that is only for Allah to determine.