Ban Government Sponsoring Of Pilgrims
A couple of days back I was at my boss house to help him with some data analysis, and as a guest I can not decide what will be on the television, although giving the chance I would have choose not to watch NTA the stupid propaganda machine of the Obasanjo government, but I have no choice but the watch the news; and it happened on the news that day a report on the pilgrims scandal in Adamawa state was carried and a interview with a very furious gentleman lamenting and castigating the Adamawa State Pilgrims Board for their inability to secure VISAS for hundreds of intending pilgrims from the state due to the board corruption and mismanagement was on.
Ironically, that fellow I found out later was a government sponsored pilgrim and what he was really demanding was that the money paid for them by the government for their pilgrimage be refunded to them directly, as they nurse the fear that the next government in the state might not entertain such non-sense of using government money to sponsor people on pilgrimage, this set my mind thinking and I went on a personal research. In Islam we all know every Muslim faithful is expected to perform the pilgrimage once in his life time, if he can afford and when and only when he fulfilled series of stringent conditions before he/she embark on such a journey.
We also know according to the teaching of Islam that each and every pilgrim that made it to the Hajj was invited by Allah; for it’s only the invited make it that is why you find people of little means making it to the Hajj while people of high means sometimes are yet to make it. Islam is a very simple religion, it’s also a religion of rationality, and nothing is shrouded in mystery or beyond the comprehension of the ordinary mortal.
Since the advent of democratic governance in 1999, each and every year, governments across the country devote millions of tax payers money in the name of sponsoring people on holy pilgrimage, how and what criteria they use in selecting those to be sponsored is known to them and them only. I am a Muslim and by God I love and practice my religion to the best of my knowledge and ability. Although I can not quote any Qur’anic verse(s) or Hadith to support my stand on the absurdity of government sponsoring people on pilgrimage, but I hope this piece will start a healthy discussion on the matter, but looking at the scenario from a rational point of view, I find it really difficult to OK the non-sense. I for one see it as flagrant waste of tax payer money and I am sure Allah will not accept such pilgrimage; I am of the opinion that Allah did not invite such people to the holy land. By the way who gave the government the right to use our money to sponsor anybody to Mecca on pilgrimage or Jerusalem on tourist visit?
Now lets look at it from a angle of rationality, if we all believe that its only those invited by Allah that make it to the Holy city of Mecca, then are those pilgrims sponsored by governments also invited by Allah?, am sure a lot of my readers will answer in affirmative, well, left to me and rationally thinking they are not…. Why I said so is because I believe that those politicians and by extension the government do not have the mandate of the people they govern to use money from the coffers to sponsor their girl friends, prostitutes who have little or no knowledge of even the simple basics of performing ablution, political hooligans, stooge, marabous and co-looters to the pilgrims as it’s evident from the list of sponsored members. I am sure such a people will not make it into the list of invitees of Allah (SWT).
Imagine an irresponsible government that is yet to overcome the problem of roads, medicine in the hospitals sponsoring thousands of people with money that is enough to handle such problems, imagine a government that have not yet provided good drinking water to its people or a government which can not boast of providing qualitative education to the children of the poor, sponsoring people en-mass to Mecca. I strongly believe such people are not the invitee of the most high. In my state for example from 1999 to date ten of thousands of people were sponsored by the government on pilgrimage to Mecca and Jerusalem annually a rough calculations of the cost will show that the government have spend billions on such a travesty. My dear reader will agree that if such money were to be pumped into road constructions nobody will be complaining about roads in Adamawa toady, likewise if the money were to be put into provision of portable drinking water, water hawking will have been a thing of the pass. But today a visit to the garage will tell you that water selling is a lucrative business in Adamawa as evident by the thousand of water hawkers arriving from Gombe who have relocated to Adamawa state as they have in Gombe thanks to their dynamic governor has put that chapter (water scarcity) behind them, despite the fact that they have no river in the state as contrast to Adamawa that have River Benue, River Gongola yet we still do not have running water, and still, the government never fail to sponsor thousand on pilgrimage annually
I therefore strongly believe that anybody going to Mecca on such sponsorship from such government, Allah will definitely have nothing to do with such pilgrimage, and such people will be very surprise when they will be told on the day of judgment that they have not perform any pilgrimage, and the one they took on illegal funding is null and void.
It is high time our God fearing Ulama’as not those that benefit from such charade start preaching the virtues of turning down such offers and let our Legislators at both States and Federal level enact laws that will ban in totality the act of sponsoring people for any reason on pilgrimage. Be it, to go and pray for the success of third term or anti-third term, or even for a governor who is still nursing the ambition of returning for third term e after the demise of third term, because he was told if certain number of people stood somewhere in Mecca and pray for him it will come to reality and he will return as governor even after a dismal performance.
I hope this my article today will spark a healthy debate that will deal extensively on this topic, and I hope people with knowledge of Qur’an and Hadith will step in and contribute as my peace here today was solely of the side of logic only.
God Bless all!