Hajj 2018: Pilgrims resort to sign language to bridge communication gap


A large percentage of intending pilgrims from around the globe has resorted to using sign languages due to communication barrier while in the holy land.

In a cross sample of interview conducted by our correspondent, report indicates that people who converge in Saudi Arabia for the yearly pilgrimage come from different parts of World and do not necessarily have a common language to communicate with.

Need for a sign language
Arab, French, Hausa and English languages are the most commonly spoken by pilgrims but majority of them experience a gap in communication as they are not able to understand one another which brings about the need for a sign language.

According to a pilgrim, Hamza Jibril, “what surprises me is even the communication gap amongst Nigerians, once a pilgrim cannot speak English, you find it difficult to communicate. So it becomes difficult to correct mistake especially as regards the hajj rituals.”

He further stated that they sometimes get cheated during transactions, saying, it is either they are short changed or are sold low quality products.

Another intending pilgrim, Aisha Sani said they always look for an interpreter whenever they go shopping for the understanding of the value of what they are buying and the exchange rate as well.

“We sometimes want to make friends at the mosque with people from other Countries but surprisingly, those from Arab Countries don’t speak English at all while only a few from Africa speak English as well. And I have not met those from Europe yet,” Aisha stressed.

Sufficient electricity
Speaking on the hot weather, many pilgrims wear sun shades, niqab to cover the face and umbrellas to avoid sun burn.

“Though the heat does not hinder our act of worship, a lot of people walk from their hotels to the mosque five times a day while others just hang around the mosque premisses despite the heat just because they don’t want to walk from their hotels to the mosque, “ Khamis Usman explained.

Khamis noted that some pilgrims already have Cold and Catarrh due to the frequent intake of cold water and juice.

“One amazing thing about this city is that, there is constant and sufficient electricity which powers the air conditioners, and a certain equipment like fan which sprays water on people to avoid suffocation due to the population, “ he added.

Madina city where Islam got its largest spread is known for its neatness, with its streets being swept and washed on hourly basis.

Lateefah Ibrahim