Hajj an opportunity to review ourselves: Turkish President Gül
A photo of President Abdullah Gül showing him in Mecca has been released via TwitterTurkish President Abdullah Gül, who has been in Mecca to perform the hajj, has expressed his pleasure at attending rituals at Muslims’ sacred place of worship while extending messages of peace in his festive greetings.
“The hajj is a great excitement, a great experience. It is an opportunity to review and reanalyze ourselves,” Gül, the first Turkish president to perform the religious duty while still in office, said Oct. 16.
Speaking after exchanging Eid greetings with Turkish pilgrims at Turkey’s Mecca Religious Services Attaché, he said he believed everybody returning to their countries would act in the best way possible firstly as an individual and then as a part of society.
“The hajj is the place of best wishes,” he said. “I am sure [that] everybody prayed and wished for beautiful things.”
The president, one of 2 million pilgrims who took part in the symbolic rituals in Saudi Arabia, also touched upon the difficulties of undertaking such a large-scale event like the hajj and praised the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs for its “perfect organizational success.”
When asked about what he prayed for when he saw the Kaaba, Gül asked for privacy.
“These should remain private; I guess it is best. These should remain in people’s hearts. There is no showing off here. That is why everybody was equal in Ihram,” he responded.
In addition to Turkish pilgrims and reporters, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün, Deputy Parliament Speaker Meral Akşener, Religious Affairs Director Mehmet Görmez and some deputies attended Gül’s feast program.
Around 2 million men, women and children from 188 countries are attending this year’s pilgrimage, according to Saudi Arabia’s public statistics office.
This is down from 3.16 million last year, after the kingdom cut the quotas over fears of infections from the MERS respiratory virus and because of massive projects to expand the capacity of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest place of worship.