A South African Muslim man raises Rs 5 crore for needy pilgrims to take Hajj

Johannesburg : A South African Indian-origin Muslim man has raised Rs 5 crore by selling his coffee table book of over 500 mobile phone pictures during his Hajj to assist indigent people who want to undertake the same pilgrimage.

Yusuf Abramjee, donated the money here yesterday to two South African charities that assist needy pilgrims traveling for the annual Hajj Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The proceeds of the coffee table book, #Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOnHajj, published by social activist and former journalist Abramjee, were presented to Awqaf SA and Crescent Lifestyle.

Abramjee published hundreds of photographs taken with his iPhone during his Hajj journey last year in a high-gloss A3 coffee table book that became an instant hit, with support from sponsors to place 500 copies in libraries , schools and religious institutions as well.

“The idea was to create awareness of Hajj, which is compulsory for all Muslims who can afford it at least once in their lifetime,” Abramjee said.

“Also, it brought back many memories for those who have been on Hajj. We need to promote social cohesion and religious tolerance and that’s what the book does,” he added.

“South African Muslims are a key part of South Africa as they became completely integrated into society and influence all areas of life of SA culture,” Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ghorm Said Malhan, said at the handing over ceremony as he pledged further donations to the two organisations from his embassy as well.

“The book is indeed a clear example of the strong relations between Saudi Arabia and the South African Muslim community in particular, and the entire South Africa in general,” Malhan said as he lauded the reputation of South Africans for their religious tolerance and diversity.

“The donation will be invested in the Awqaf SA Hajj Waqf Fund and its proceeds will be used on a sustainable basis to assist poor and needy pilgrims with an opportunity to experience the sacred journey,” said Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, chief executive officer of Awqaf SA.

Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the most holy city of the Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime.

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