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Saudi Receives First Foreign Pilgrims since before COVID-19

Having remained suspended for two years due to Covid-19 pandemic, first group of foreign pilgrims from Indonesia arrived in Saudi on Saturday.

“Today we received the first group of this year’s pilgrims from Indonesia, and the flights will continue from Malaysia and India,” Mohammed al-Bijawi of the country’s Hajj Ministry told the state-run Al-Ekhbariya channel, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

“Today we are happy to receive the guests of God from outside the kingdom, after a two-year interruption due to the pandemic,” he added, describing Saudi Arabia as “fully prepared” to accommodate them.

📚 Read Also:  Hajj: Pilgrims Share Personal Spiritual Journey

The group of pilgrims from Indonesia landed in Madinah on Saturday. They are yet to travel to Makkah in the coming weeks to prepare for hajj.

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On Sunday, two groups from Srinagar, Kashmir, and Dhaka, Bangladesh left their respective cities in their road to Makkah for hajj.

Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.

Foreign hajj pilgrims were restricted for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic as only 1,000 domestic visitors were allowed in 2020 and 60,000 in 2021.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia said they would allow one million foreign and domestic Muslims to travel to the holy city of Makkah this year for the annual hajj in July.