As Muslims around the global are preparing for this year’s holy pilgrimage to Mecca known as the Hajj, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has increased the quota allocated to Malawians Muslims intending to travel this year.
In a statement by the Saudi Arabia kingdom, the quota has been increased from 280 to 350 people per year an increase of 70 people.
The increase follows a request by Malawian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Wilfred Ali during his meeting with Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nizar Bin Obaid Madan when he went to present his letters of credence to his majesty King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saudi in 2015.
Speaking in an interview in Blantyre Wednesday Muslim Association of Malawi, Spokesperson Sheikh Dinala Chabulika said this was a good development to all Muslims in Malawi
“This development will bring an opportunity for many people as it will give them a chance to visit the holy places of our religion as they will be going in large numbers,” he said.
Hajj, the fifth of the pillars of Islam, coincides with the Eid al-Adha festival, known as the Feast of the Sacrifice and is meant to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his famil.
The hajj starts in the last month of the Islamic calendar whereby all Muslims around the world go in Saudi Arabia to see and pay respect to what Prophet Muhammad did before his death.
Every adult Muslim is required to complete the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime as long as they are physically and financially capable of making the expensive and difficult journey.
Each year, Muslim faithful from about 180 countries converge on the Islamic city of Mecca and other locations in western Saudi Arabia to complete the holy journey.
The week of Hajj occurs during the last month of the Islamic calendar and requires pilgrims to perform ten services or rituals before and during Hajj.
On the first day of Hajj, Muslims proceed to Mina for prayers then head to Mount Arafat, around 20km east of Mecca, the following day to repent their sins.
One of the requirement sees the pilgrims perform a symbolic stoning of the devil.
They do this by throwing seven stones at the largest of three pillars, which for safety reasons have now been replaced by walls with areas to catch the projectiles.
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