The improvement of Hajj practice and guidance quality is a concern of Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry has decided to hold the selection of guides for the 2023 Hajj season earlier to improve the quality of the Hajj practice guidance provided by guides.

“The improvement of Hajj practice and guidance quality is a concern of Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas. The minister even asked the Hajj guide recruitment to take place sooner," the ministry's director general for Hajj and Umrah, Hilman Latief, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry will also increase the quota for women Hajj guides considering the increasing percentage of women pilgrims each year, he informed.

"Moreover, women Hajj guides will have their quality improved," he added.

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According to Latief, the provision of more Hajj guides belonging to the same gender will ensure that women Hajj pilgrims get better guidance.

The Religious Affairs Ministry has also urged state Islamic religious universities cooperating with it to intensify the certification of Hajj practice guides, he said.

As prevailing laws mandate the certification of Hajj guides, the director general reiterated his commitment to improving the technical regulations for the certification and elevating the directorate general’s decision into a ministry regulation.

"We also need to conduct a digital transformation in Hajj practice sessions as we strive to provide appealing Hajj services and not serve a boring one," Latief remarked.

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In August 2022, Minister Qoumas had highlighted the need for addressing some issues that occurred during this year's Hajj to improve next year's organization of the annual Islamic pilgrimage.

For one, Hajj pilgrims lacked an understanding of the ritual practice despite being provided guidance, he said adding, this is an urgent issue that must be addressed.

To prevent a recurrence of the issue, the ministry will evaluate Hajj guidance methods and programs and enhance the quality of Hajj guides and the number of Hajj guidance sessions during the pilgrims’ stay in Saudi Arabia, he said.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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