Home Entertainment Oyo-born NASFAT Chief Missioner, Onike, Lists Benefits Of Hajj Savings Plan

Oyo-born NASFAT Chief Missioner, Onike, Lists Benefits Of Hajj Savings Plan


The Non-Interest Banking (NIB) Group of Sterling Bank has launched the Hajj Savings Plan in partnership with Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) in Lagos. The novel savings plan is designed to make it easy for interested Muslims to choose the year they would prefer to perform the Hajj and plan their contributions, either weekly or monthly, towards achieving the objective. In this interview, Chief Missioner of NASFAT, Alhaji Mahroof Onike, hails Sterling Bank for the initiative and also highlights the benefits of performing the Hajj at least once in the lifetime of a Muslim.

Purpose of Hajj

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Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam where Allah commands that Muslims who can afford it should go on Hajj at least once in their lifetime.

Every year, millions of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world embark on a five-day Hajj pilgrimage. The main activity of the pilgrimage is for the pilgrims to circle Islam’s most sacred site, namely the cube-shaped Ka’aba in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, seven times.

Pilgrims also take part in a series of rituals intended to bring about greater humility and unity among Muslims. This activity is known as Hajj.

Embarking on Hajj is seen as an opportunity to clean off past sins and start afresh. Many Muslims seek to deepen their faith during the Hajj which is why you see women covering their hair with what is commonly known as the “hijab” upon returning from the holy pilgrimage. Muslims are required to perform Hajj because it is the most complete form of worship. It requires that Muslims bear the hardships of travel and sacrifice the comfort of their homes to please their Creator, the Almighty Allah.

Hajj Savings Plan

Muslims who have not gone on Hajj should take advantage of Sterling Bank’s Hajj Savings Plan to set a future pilgrimage date for performance of the Hajj (major pilgrimage) or Umrah (minor pilgrimage).

This savings plan initiative by Sterling Bank is a welcome development which I believe will create opportunities for Muslims who intend to perform Hajj at a future date. It is a laudable plan and every Muslim who has knowledge of the initiative should commit to playing a part in creating awareness about it so that a lot of Muslims can benefit from it.

Why Muslims should perform the Hajj

Muslims who have not performed the Hajj may not appreciate the value of Islam as much as those who have gone on the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. I will, therefore, like to call on wealthy Muslims to support those who cannot afford the pilgrimage so that their blessings from God will continue to increase.

Performing Hajj involves a lot of physical challenges and many people walk the routes. Those who cannot afford Hajj are sometimes financed by charities or community leaders. Others save their entire lives to make the journey while some even walk thousands of miles by foot to Saudi Arabia, taking months to arrive.

History of the Hajj

The rites of the Hajj are designed to trace the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismail – or Abraham and Ishmael as they are known in the Bible. Muslim adherents believe Prophet Ibrahim’s faith was tested when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Ismail. Prophet Ibrahim was prepared to submit to the command, but God stayed his hand, sparing his son and gave him a sheep instead.

Hajj is also an opportunity for pilgrims to trace the path of Prophet Ibrahim’s wife, Hagar, who scholars believe ran between two hills seven times searching for water to save her dying son before God brought forth a spring that runs to this day. That spring is the sacred well of Zamzam, which is believed to possess healing powers and pilgrims often return from the Hajj with bottles of its water as gifts.

There is no disease that this water cannot heal but you have to have faith in it because Allah says He will heal those who believe and will not heal those who do not believe in Him. So, faith is very important.

Importance of Kaaba to Muslims

Islamic scholars are of the opinion that the Ka’aba was built by Ibrahim and Ismail as a house of monotheistic worship thousands of years ago but over the years, the Ka’aba was reconstructed and it has attracted different kinds of pilgrims, including early Christians who once lived in the Arabian Peninsula. In pre-Islamic times, the Ka’aba was used to house pagan idols worshipped by local tribes.

Muslims do not worship the Ka’aba, but it is Islam’s most sacred site because it represents the metaphorical House of God as well as the oneness of God in Islam. Praying Muslims around the world face the Ka’aba during their five daily prayers.

Rituals performed during Hajj

Pilgrims perform several rituals during Hajj because it is a time when they enter into state of spiritual purity known as “ihram,” which is aimed at shedding symbols of materialism, giving up worldly pleasures and focusing on the inner self.

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