Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has highlighted the need for addressing some issues that occurred during this year’s Hajj to improve next year’s organization of the annual Islamic pilgrimage.
For one, Hajj pilgrims lacked an understanding of the ritual practice despite being provided guidance during this year’s Hajj season, he said adding, this is an urgent issue that must be addressed.
“According to on-site observation, some pilgrims had no comprehension of the Hajj practice despite their attending the Hajj manasik (simulation) at their sub-district’s Religious Affairs Office and the ministry office at the city/district level,” Qoumas informed during an evaluation meeting with Commission VIII of the House of Representatives (DPR), which was followed online from here on Wednesday.
To prevent a recurrence of this, the ministry will evaluate Hajj guidance methods and programs and enhance the quality of Hajj guides and the number of Hajj guidance sessions during the pilgrim’s stay in Saudi Arabia, he said.
“We will improve the criteria for (the next) Hajj guide recruitment. Hajj guides must have performed the pilgrimage, must be experienced state apparatus or figures, and (we need to) increase (the number of) women Hajj guides,” he added.
Meanwhile, Qoumas informed that to date, three Indonesian Hajj pilgrims are still undergoing medical care in Saudi Arabia, while the total pilgrim deaths this year have been recorded at 90, comprising 88 pilgrims who attended the regular Hajj program and 2 pilgrims who went on special Hajj.
“In detail, 7 pilgrims passed away at airports, while 61 pilgrims died in Mecca, 14 pilgrims passed away in Medina, and 8 pilgrims died during the Hajj peak (in Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina),” he informed.
The death toll of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims this year is significantly lower compared to previous years, the minister noted.
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