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First batch of Hajj Pilgrims fly out from Tamale

The first batch of 433 Muslim pilgrims from Northern Ghana on Monday June 20, 2022, have been airlifted from the Tamale International Airport to Madina, in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The pilgrims were flown by the Saudi Commercial Airline, flynas A- 360.

In all about 1,732 pilgrims from the five regions of the north are expected to fly directly from the Tamale International Airport from Monday June 20 to Wednesday June 22, 2022, while the rest of the prospective pilgrims are to be flown from the Kotoka International Airport in Accra to Jeddah.

A total of 3,069 pilgrims are expected to be flown from Ghana to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage this year.

The Chairman of the National Hajj Board, Sheik I.C. Quaye, accompanied by the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Alhassan Shani Sayibu, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Alhaji Hassan S. Tampuli, Hajj Board Finance Officer Alhaji Faruck Hamza and other officials of the hajj board saw off the pilgrims at the Tamale International Airport.

Chairman of the Hajj Board of Ghana, Sheick I.C. Quaye

Sheik I.C. Quaye in his remarks, admonished the would-be pilgrims to be disciplined and law-abiding during their stay in Saudi Arabia where they would be undertaking spiritual duties.

“This year’s hajj is a hajj of trial, because you find out that our number has been reduced from 6, 700 to 3,000, there has been a big cut, however the board through the support from government have been able to work hard and then today we are embarking for this year’s hajj,” he said.

On his part, the Hajj Board Finance Officer, Alhaji Faruck Hamza, while commending the pilgrims for cooperating with the Hajj board, also assured the Ghanaian pilgrims that adequate measures have been put in place to ensure their welfare and security.

Alhaj Faruck Hamza, Finance Officer of the Hajj Board of Ghana

“We are assuring our pilgrims that, they are going to have the best hajj experience this year,” he assured.

Alhaji Faruck in his remarks also commended government for putting up such a facility for this year’s Hajj operations.

Four flights have been scheduled to fly direct from the Tamale International Airport to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this year’s hajj.

Some of the pilgrims going through routine departure procedures

Saudi Arabia, last month announced it would allow one million people from both inside and outside the kingdom to perform the Hajj which will take place in July, compared with about 60,000 last year and less than 1,000 in 2020.

One of the five pillars of Islam, the Hajj must be undertaken by all Muslims who have the means at least once in their lives.

Usually, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, about 2.5 million people participated in 2019 in the last Hajj before the coronavirus outbreak.

Barring overseas pilgrims caused deep disappointment among Muslims worldwide, who typically save for years to take part.

The Hajj consists of a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in Islam’s holiest city of Makkah, and its surrounding areas of Western Saudi Arabia.

Story By: Alhassan Yakubu

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