First couple departs to Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed departing to Makkah, Saudi Arabia on an unofficial visit to perform Hajj pilgrimage on July 4, 2022. (Photo/President's Office)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed, on Monday morning, have departed to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, to perform the Hajj pilgrimage this year.

In an earlier statement, the President’s Office’s Spokesperson Mabrook Azeez told Sun that this was an unofficial trip being undertaken by the couple. 

“This trip is not included within the quota Maldives received this year. Going on their own,” he added.

Meanwhile, Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir Ali was appointed as this year’s Amir al-Hajj of the Maldives’ Hajj pilgrims by President Solih departed to Makkah, Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

As per the calendar, Hajj pilgrimage of this year will commence on July 8.

Saudi Arabia granted quota for 453 Maldivian hajj pilgrims this year – the lowest quota granted to the country in years.

Only Maldives Hajj Corporation was granted the opportunity by the government to send pilgrims for the annual Hajj pilgrimage this year. Of the slots, 352 were given to those that waitlisted with the corporation, and the remaining was decided through a draw.

The last group of Maldivian pilgrims travelling to Makkah, Saudi Arabia had departed on Saturday night. President Solih had met the pilgrims at Velana International Airport, to bid them farewell.