TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Chairperson of the Honorary Council of the Indonesian Hajj Brotherhood Association (IPHI), Jusuf Kalla, has expressed the hope that the hajj pilgrimage will return to normal next year, allowing Indonesian pilgrims to perform the ritual conveniently.
"I hope hajj pilgrimage would return to normalcy next year," Kalla remarked during the inauguration ceremony of IPHI central committee members at the Pondok Gede Hajj Dormitory, East Jakarta, on Saturday.
The COVID-19 pandemic impeded hajj pilgrimage in 2020 and 2021, with pilgrims performing hajj rituals under coronavirus restrictions, Kalla said.
"Hajj ritual performed in recent years has not been as convenient as previous years, and hajj pilgrim admittance quota has been reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Kalla noted.
Kalla, who served as Indonesia's 10th and 12th vice president, said that Indonesia has the longest waiting period for hajj pilgrimage in the world—the average national waiting period has reached 30 years.
While the average waiting period in Java is only 20 years, expectant hajj pilgrims in Sulawesi must wait 40 years, he said.
"If they register to perform hajj when they are 20 years old, they can only perform the pilgrimage when they are 60 years old," Kalla added.
The annual average for new hajj pilgrim registration, which is pegged at 200 thousand, also indicates the eagerness of Indonesian Muslims to perform hajj, he remarked.
He then expressed the hope that the Saudi authorities would grant 4-5 million extra Hajj quotas to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country, to ease the long waiting period for pilgrims.
"The four requisites of hajj are the Islamic faith, financial ability, physical health, and quota. Even if we have the first three requisites, yet fail to grab a hajj quota, we cannot perform the hajj ritual," the former vice president said.
Addressing the new central committee members, Kalla said they must perform their duty of disseminating information regarding the hajj pilgrimage to the public, particularly to expectant pilgrims.