Despite an outcry from clerics across states against the decision by the Haj Committee of India (HCI) to make it compulsory for Hajjis or pilgrims to pay the ritual goat sacrifice fee before proceeding to Mecca from this year, the HCI has maintained it will go ahead with the move.
Last week, at a meeting of around 400 clerics and Haj trainers at the HCI’s head office on MRA Marg, the HCI officials turned down the clerics’ demand to scrap the move to pay the ‘adahi’ before going to the pilgrimage, due in September.
Last week, a group from Bareilly, Sunni Barelvi Markaz of Dargah Ala Hazrat, had issued a fatwa against the move. “Paying the goat sacrifice fee beforehand disturbs the proper sequence of the Haj,” said a Mumbai-based cleric.
Till last year, the sacrifice was carried out by Indian pilgrims on their own, after paying a sum of Saudi Riyal (SR) 490 (Rs8,100 approximately) to the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
HCI chief executive officer (CEO), Ataur Rehman, said: “We were disturbed by the knowledge that many frauds were taking place at Mecca Sharif regarding the ritual. While the IDB is the only organisation authorised by the Saudi government to issue coupons for adahi, fake dealers operating independently were cheating Hajjis of their money and not making the sacrifice.”
Rehman said the HCI hence decided to make arrangements for the ritual on its own and depute a team in Saudi to look after the operations. “As opposed to the SR 2100 (Rs35,000) we disbursed to each Hajji till last year at the embarkation point, we will be giving SR 1500 (Rs25,000) from this time, which excludes SR 490 for the sacrifice and food,” he said.
The move has found support among some Hajjis. Kidwai Nagar resident Abdul Gaffar, 30, said he found it convenient.
?A total of 1,00,020 pilgrims from India will go for Haj this year through HCI, along with 36,000 through private operators.