BEIJING – As hundreds of Muslims have started flocking to Makkah and Madinah to perform hajj this year, a total of 284 Chinese Muslim pilgrims from Southwest China’s Yunnan Province reportedly arrived at the Madinah Airport in a chartered flight on Sunday, as the first batch of about 12,000 planning hajj this year.
Sunday’s group marks the beginning of this year’s pilgrimage arrangement, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Pilgrims were welcomed by Ma Jin, deputy director of the Islamic Department of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), together with vice president of the Islamic Association of China from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who arrived in Madinah in advance.
They will be carried in charter flights, traveling from Beijing and some provincial capital cities including Urumqi of Xinjiang and Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China’s Gansu Province, to Madinah, the vice president was quoted by the news agency.
The pilgrims will stay for five days in Madinah and then take a bus to Makkah for the Hajj.
Muslims from around the world pour to Makkah every year to 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.
Article by About Islam