Kaduna first-time pilgrims excited as they fly to Saudi Arabia | Dailytrust

Kaduna first-time pilgrims excited as they fly to Saudi Arabia

A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. – Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings. (Photo by STR / AFP)
A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. – Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings. (Photo by STR / AFP)

First time intending pilgrims from Kaduna State could not hide their excitement at the Kaduna International Airport as they bid farewell to family and friends to join the fourth batch of pilgrims being airlifted from the state to Madinah in Saudi Arabia.

Daily Trust reports that Kaduna has so far airlifted 1,589 people out of its 2,491 slots to Saudi Arabia.

Some of the intending pilgrims said they had been scheduled to perform Hajj in 2020 but could not due to the Covid-19 pandemic that forced a global lockdown.

One of the first-time pilgrims, Salamatu Ramalan from Sabon Gari Local Government Area, expressed relief that she was joining Kaduna’s fourth batch of pilgrims.

She said she will pray for herself, her husband and family when she gets to the holy land adding that, “I have prayed to Allah fervently to open the doors to Saudi Arabia after paying my fares in 2019 and I am glad He answered my prayers and I am going to perform the 2022 hajj exercise.”

Another first timer, Safiya Ismail Muhammad, said, it was not by her doing that she is among those to perform hajj this year.

“Though I paid my fares since 2020, it is not by my doing that I am here today, but by Allah’s will because many paid and are not able to perform the exercise due to death, illness and other challenges.”

“We thank God for giving us life and the ability to witness this year’s hajj and I pray Allah accepts our worship and allows us to perform many more other hajj exercises,” she said.

On his part, Yusuf Saidu Muhammad, though not a first timer, said he is on top of the world having been chosen to perform the 2022 hajj exercise.

“Sincerely speaking, I am truly excited to visit the holy land at this material time,” he said.

He commended the successes recorded by the Kaduna State Pilgrims Welfare Agency since it began airlift last week and expressed confidence that all pilgrims from the state would be airlifted before the July 3, deadline.

“We wish the agency a hitch free exercise, we commend them for coordinating their activities properly despite the late opening of hajj operations by the Saudi Embassy and the increase in fares,” he said.

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