MADINAH – As millions of Muslims prepare to flock to Saudi for hajj, the first flights arrived on Monday, July 24, carrying pilgrims aspiring to perform the lifetime journey.
The first group of 329 pilgrims from Islamabad arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Madinah, Zawya reported on Tuesday, July 25.
The second flight from Pakistan, carrying 253 pilgrims, arrived in Jeddah. It was the first Haj flight to land at King Abdul Aziz International Airport.
The group was received by Sajid Yousafani, director general of the Pakistan Haj Mission; Asif Memon, deputy consul general; and Ashraf Lanja, joint secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Abdul Hakeem Al-Tamimi, chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), and other Saudi officials were present at the airport to receive the pilgrims.
Al-Tamimi greeted the pilgrims with gifts and flowers. Elaborate measures have been made at both airports to receive pilgrims.
Some 1,954 pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday under the government’s Haj program. The number of flights arriving at both airports is expected to increase in the coming days.
Muslims from around the world pour to Makkah every year to e perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.