Liberia: Registration Begins for Islamic Pilgrimage to Mecca

(From right) Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, Cllr. Losene F. Bility and NHCL staff.  

The National HAJJ Committee of Liberia (NHCL) has begun accepting registrations for the 2022 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia's Holy City of Mecca. 

The fees for this year’s trip are US$6,500 per pilgrim, according to Cllr. Losene F. Bility, Chairman of the NHCL. He said this amount will ensure proper coordination, rules, and orderliness during the trip. Hajj is one of Islam's five pillars — a pilgrimage to Mecca — that every Muslim should fulfill at least once in their lifetime if they are able.

It is considered to be the greatest spiritual event a Muslim can have, with ceremonies performed in the most hallowed places in the Islamic world. The pilgrimage rite starts on the 7th of Dhū al-Ḥijjah (the last month of the Islamic year) and ends on the 12th day.

At a news conference on June 1, Bility said each pilgrim must deposit an amount of US$200 to the account of the NHCL at the International Bank Liberia Limited (IB) between 11th and 12th streets, sinkor, Monrovia, and ensure that their agency is free of any bad or unlawful financial history in Liberia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  

“Pilgrims will be enrolled on a first come first serve basis and, as per the official listing of the NHCL, which will be generated in accordance with the banking records of IB, pursuant with best practice,’’ he said.

For the entire day, pilgrims are to spend hours in the vicinity of the mountain, praying and repenting. Many Muslims think the visit is a day when sins can be forgiven. “It expiates the sins of the previous year and the following year,” the Prophet Mohammed said, according to Bilal Philips, founder of the Islamic Online University. Pilgrims are expected to spend the full day praying and repenting in the vicinity of the mountain.

“Agencies should individualize pilgrims’ registration in terms of payment in our account number (0012181132033102) and submit all such payments with the NHCL within 24 hours for onward inclusion into the general official list,” the NHCL Chair added. 

He urged people to make their payments by depositing all funds directly into the NHCL’s account or through a properly accredited agency. A copy of the bank slips should then be brought to the NHCL’s secretariat for registration and for an efficient recording system. 

“This is to enhance transparency and accountability in the Hajj processes. It is imperative to note that all persons of interest should inform all pilgrims that strict obedience would be observed,” he stated.

According to him, all pilgrims must be between the ages of 18 and 65 years old and must wear masks and follow attendance regulations at all gatherings in Liberia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“In view of the aforementioned, we strongly encourage all pilgrims desirous of performing Hajj this year 2022 to register with the NHCL and all duly accredited Hajj Agencies within the Republic of Liberia by the National Hajj Committee of Liberia – 2022.” 

All accredited Hajj Agencies must display their accreditations to pilgrims interested in attending the Hajj, according to Bility. He added that anyone interacting with an agency or institution that is not duly recognized by the Committee does so at their own risk, since they will have no recourse against the NHCL if something goes wrong.

“The National Hajj Committee of Liberia (NHCL) 2022 wishes to assure all persons of interest, including but not limited to the general public, the National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL), all dully accredited Hajj Agencies of Liberia, and the entire Muslim community, that it is open to doing business with all on the basis of fairness, open-mindedness, equity, and transparency.”