SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 7, 2010) – The Muslim province of Sulu in the southern Philippines have deployed a medical team for the Hajj in Mecca that would assist not only Filipino pilgrims, but foreigners as well.
Dr Farah Omar, head of the Sulu Integrated Provincial Health Office, and Nurunisah Tan, the wife of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, headed the team that would provide medical services to the pilgrims, according to Hajji Faslur Rahman Abdullah, chief of the Area Coordinating Council in the province.
“This has been the tradition of the governor and his wife and both are deeply involved in humanitarian missions here and abroad,” Abdullah told the Mindanao Examiner.
Sulu is one of five province under the Muslim autonomous region.
He said Tan in the past funded the medical mission to Mecca while his wife, who is a professional nurse, works side by side with Omar in attending to the medical needs of pilgrims not only from Sulu or the Philippines, but Muslims from other countries as well. Both the governor and his wife are known philanthropists here and abroad.
“As in the past, the governor of Sulu, Sakur Tan provided for everything that the medical team need in this humanitarian mission to Mecca. The mission is to assist and provide medical services to the pilgrims,” he said, adding, Tan also funded last year’s medical mission in Mecca.
Other reports said President Benigno Aquino also provided one million pesos to Tan as a support to the expenses of the local pilgrims.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is required of all Muslims at least once in their lifetime, provided they are physically and financially able. It is one of the five basic requirements of Islam.
Pilgrims are obliged to perform several rituals, including walking seven times around the Ka'bah shrine. They must also visit holy places outside Mecca and sacrifice an animal in honor of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Ishmael. In conclusion, they return to Mecca and perform a farewell circling of the shrine.
More than 2 million Muslims from around the world go to Mecca annually for the Hajj. Abdullah said the pilgrimage would start on November 15 and would last for about five days. (Mindanao Examiner)