WE are very grateful to Allah that our compatriots to this year’s hajj in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have started arriving home. Our information is that the first flight touched down at the Kotoka International Airport yesterday afternoon, with the rest to follow suit in subsequent flights.

We offer them Maraabah- a special Islamic greetings of welcome back into the country and empathise with them for the traumatic experience and other difficult challenges they encountered during the about one month spiritual exercise in the Holy Land. Nothing good comes easy! This year’s Hajj would go down in history as the most tragic.

The Times is particularly concerned that this year’s Hajj has not been an easy one with two tragic events that led to the loss of several lives. The first was the collapse of the crane at Masjid al- Haram, the Grand Mosque at Mecca, that resulted in the deaths of some pilgrims.

This was followed by another incident in which 1000 pilgrims, lost their lives when two waves of pilgrims crashed at a narrow road during the final day of the Hajj. They were   carrying out the stone- throwing rite at Jamarat, where Satan is believed to have tempted Prophet Abraham as he tried to carry out Allah’s order to sacrifice his son Ishmael.

Sadly, a number of Ghanaians lost their lives in the stampede while others got missing. We do not want the tragic event to invoke pain in our bereaved families, who might have given everything to the Almighty Allah, except to express our condolences to them to accept the pain as the will of Allah!

We know Muslims believe in destiny. What Allah has destined we cannot question it! We are aware of the belief in Islam that whoever dies in the Holy Land of Mecca during the performance of the Hajj is a blessing and the dead will have a peaceful resting place in the bosom of the Almighty Allah.

As we are grateful to Allah for the safe arrival of the pilgrims, it is our conviction that Allah has accepted their Hajj and endowed them with all the bounties of blessings to continue to worship him in true faith and in humility.

It is our humble conviction that the pilgrims are back to Ghana with renewed faith and strength to continue to pursue their various endeavours to help in national development.

We are aware that Islam stands for peace and social cohesion which are sine quo non to social stability and peaceful co-existence. We are hopeful that the pilgrims, while back at home, will continue to live in peace with other faithfuls.

More importantly, we pray that they guard their communities against any unscrupulous people who will be tempted to infiltrate into their fold to influence them into doing things that will not promote the course of peace, stability and national development.

Now that the electioneering campaign towards election 2016 is gearing up, it is our belief that Muslims will stand up for peace and will not allow anybody to coerce the youth in the Muslim communities for their selfish end.

Once again, we say Maraabah to all Al-Hajjs and Hajias, we thank Allah for your safe arrival.

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