Three Ghanaian Muslim Hajj pilgrims performing the Islamic spiritual exercise have died in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Confirming the incident to Citi News, the Deputy Communications Director for the Hajj Board, Hajia Marian Cissey, noted that “so far we have lost three pilgrims; two being women and one man.”
The two women died in their sleep, while the third person, a man, suffered a medical condition and died at the hospital.
Hajia Cissey noted that, the man was suffering from a condition before he embarked on the trip.
“The medical experts told us that the patient was already involved in an accident and the condition was being managed and he was on medication. So when he got here, I think that due to how stressful the whole spiritual exercise is, he suffered from internal bleeding in the brain.”
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the most holy city for Muslims, and is considered a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, at least once in their lifetime.
The pilgrimage has often recorded deaths sometimes due to stampede and other factors.
Mecca, particularly in the summer, has a brutal climate which strains the body due to high heat, and the fact that the rites of the pilgrimage require a great deal of movement with massive crowding, it takes a toll on older people.
Also, the belief that if one dies while performing Hajj means a straight shot to heaven encourages those in extremely poor health to play it safe (in the spiritual sense) by playing it unsafely (in the physical sense).
By: Farida Shaibu/citifmonline.com/Ghana