Muslims from S’pore performing haj doing well despite searing heat in Saudi Arabia: Muis president
Muslims from Singapore who were performing the haj pilgrimage were in high spirits despite the blazing hot weather, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) president Mohamed Sa’at Abdul Rahman said on Wednesday.
In a social media post, he added: “They are diligent in taking care of themselves, but did not forget to care for fellow pilgrims.”
More than 1.8 million worshippers from around the world had to brave intense heat as they took part in one of the largest religious gatherings. They included 234 pilgrims from Singapore.
Temperatures peaked at 48 deg C on Tuesday, when pilgrims prayed for hours at Mount Arafat, said various news reports.
The haj must be undertaken by all Muslims with the means, at least once in their lives.
Mr Sa’at, who also heads a 29-member delegation from the Singapore Pilgrims’ Affairs Office (SPAO) that is accompanying the worshippers, told Berita Harian that the pilgrims had generally been in good health and were eager to carry out their pilgrimage.
The delegation provides medical and welfare services for the pilgrims throughout the haj.
SPAO’s chief medical officer, Dr Fatimah Abdul Lateef, told Berita Harian on Tuesday that the team treated about 40 to 60 patients every day for minor problems such as respiratory tract infections, diarrhoea and dry skin.
“There are two (or) three cases where the diagnoses are more serious, which we have dealt with early and with concern,” she said, without elaborating on what the issues were.
Muslim travel agency TM Fouzy Travel & Tours, in an interview with Berita Harian, said that although air-conditioned tents were provided, a few pilgrims had to deal with a broken air-conditioner for several hours, adding to the challenge of the haj.
Some pilgrims also suffered from heat stroke and passed out in the extremely hot weather, but received the necessary treatment from the agency’s officials and SPAO, said Ustaz Hasanuddin Razali, who is from the travel agency and was on the haj with the pilgrims.
He added that SPAO had been proactive, regularly monitoring the welfare of the pilgrims to provide immediate assistance for those in need.
Another agency, Halijah Travels, said it reminded pilgrims often to drink water and take care of their health, and to perform the haj rituals according to their own abilities.
Mr Haffidz Abdul Hamid, general manager of Halijah Travels, said it had arranged for two medical officers to be with the pilgrims.
One of the pilgrims, Mr Mohammad Zaki As’at, 44, said: “We try our best to be patient and use the fans given to us by TM Fouzy Travel or stand near the air-conditioner.”
Berita Harian also reported that a 61-year-old Singaporean woman pilgrim is believed to have died from a heart attack at Mina Al-Wadi Hospital in Mecca on Tuesday, Saudi time (five hours behind Singapore time).
SPAO said her family has been informed.