Hajj china piligrms medina saudi
Hajj pilgrims arriving from China land in Medina. Image Credit: SPA

Cairo: The first group of Muslim pilgrims flying from China arrived this week in the Saudi holy city of Medina in the run-up to next month’s annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The pilgrims landed at the Prince Mohammed bin abdulaziz airport where their arrival procedures were handled smoothly, the Saudi news agency SPA reported. Their number was not given.

The Saudi Directorate of Passports has said it harnesses all its resources to facilitate the pilgrims’ entry to the kingdom at different air, land and sea points, using sophisticated equipment and well-qualified personnel.

The early groups of pilgrims started arriving in Saudi Arabia from several countries over the past few days ahead of Hajj, which is expected to commence this year on June 14, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

Hajj China pilgrims Medina saudi
Hajj pilgrims from China arrive in Medina. Image Credit: SPA

Hundreds of pilgrims initially land at Medina’s international airport where they are welcomed and offered commemorative gifts. Medina is home to the Prophet’s Mosque, Islam’s second holiest site.

More than 2 million Muslims from across the globe are projected to attend upcoming Hajj in and around the holy city of Mecca.

Saudi agencies engaged in preparing for Hajj works anticipate record numbers of pilgrims after around 30 million Muslims from inside and outside the kingdom undertook Umrah or minor pilgrimage in the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in Mecca during the past Islamic sacred month of Ramadan.

Some 1.8 million Muslims from across the globe performed Hajj last year, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

Hajj is one of Islam’s five obligatory duties. Muslims, who can physically and financially afford Hajj, have to perform it at least once in a lifetime.