Based on Interviews -3
Revolutionary Changes in the Holy Sites-
Dr. Mozammel Haque
The Education Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan came to perform Hajj on the invitation of the Rabita al-Alam al-Islami Muslim World League). I have learnt that he had performed Hajj before, in the year 2000 and this is his second Hajj in the year 2015.
I had the opportunity to meet him and discuss with him his experience of Hajj in 2000 and I requested him to describe the facilities in the Holy sites , the Mataf area, the Safa-Marwah areas, Zam Zam areas and at that time the situation in Mina and Muzdalifah Arafat and Jamarat.
The Education Secretary of Pakistan said, “It was a matter of great pride and privilege to be in this; always a great moment of prestige for every Muslim of performing Hajj and Umrah. I came and performed my first Hajj in the year 2000 and now Alhamdo lillah due to the exigencies of Rabita Muslim World League I am performing the key Hajj.
While comparing his experience of Hajj in the year 2000 with that of the year 2015, Mr. Talwar said, “Differences between the two is that earlier year, there was good number of populations, good number of pilgrimage, not up to this level what we have been seeing now. Although, to begin with, while one was coming to Saudi Arabia coming to the airport, earlier the immigration process was quite delayed; but this year I had seen that this is fast, taking almost a minute on Hajjis on a pilgrimage. So this is things they have improved.
“The second improvement is coming to Kaaba Sharif, the section where work is going on but again I will give credit that despite this construction work, they are providing opportunity in such regulated way that every body perform; so this is one thing further better,” mentioned Mr. Talwar.
Pakistan Education secretary also mentioned about the development of the Safa-Marwah areas and Mataf. He said, “Safa-Marwah has improved a lot; it was not like this 15 years ago. It is a tremendous big change. Mataf area has been expanded. I hope and wish that once the mass construction is over it will be camping a quite large, a big number of pilgrim housing within the Mataf area.”
“Then the third one, particularly, this is a blessing the place we are now in the Muslim World League building in Mina; it’s a blessing. Because you are right in the Mina and you are quite close to the Jamarat. And you are just passing by to the Masjid al-Khaif,” mentioned Mr. Talwar.
Pakistan Education secretary also mentioned about the improvement of Jamarat. He said, “Another one, that is earlier, there was only one single pillar symbolising the Satarn, Jamarat. While you are throwing stones on them certain throwing stones were going on the other side and other side’s stones were coming to your side. But this time; now they have expanded that area and that Satarn wall has been enlarged providing the opportunity for everyone and I envision and hope Insha Allah it will continue and there will be more facilities but there is this remarkable big change between the earlier and now.”
Commenting on the development of the Haramain and some remarks by some media people in the media comparing Makkah with Las Vegas, Pakistan’s education secretary said, “La Hawl Wala Quwutta Illah Billah, meaning There is no power no strength but from Allah” and observed, “There is no comparison; earlier Masjid al-Haram was covering a number of Muslim population; now the Muslim population has increased day by day , year after year and keeping in view the year 2020 I think they have to go for another expansion for 2050; and when you are doing an expansion; the developments are almost taking place but in a better way and for a better purpose. The purpose is to serve the welfare and the safety and security of the pilgrims. So there is no comparison. I will only say La Hawl Wala Quwutta Illah Billah, meaning There is no power no strength but from Allah.”
“The one thing they must add that while in the exterior portion of the Masjid al-Haram there may be more fans, there may be more air-conditioned. That will serve the purpose for everyone, otherwise they are doing an excellent work,” Pakistan’s education secretary concluded his observation.