First 298 pilgrims depart for Hajj

This year's first group of pilgrims at the airport to depart for Hajh on May 31, 2024. (Photo/Islamic Ministry)

First group of pilgrims from the Maldives departed to Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s Hajj pilgrimage on Friday afternoon.

As pilgrims 298 pilgrims departed on Friday, all pilgrims will be escorted by the state-owed Maldives Hajj Corporation. Excluding aides, a total of 980 pilgrims will be traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform their Hajj pilgrimage this year.

According to Islamic Ministry, pilgrims are scheduled to depart on three separate days;

  • 298 pilgrims accompanied by 26 aides today
  • 330 pilgrims accompanied by 23 aides on Monday
  • 339 pilgrims accompanied by 23 aides on next Friday

A special ceremony was held at the airport on Friday to see off the first group of pilgrims. As per the Islamic Ministry, the ceremony was attended by Vice President Faisal Naseem, Islamic Minister Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saidd and the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the Maldives.

This year's first group of pilgrims at the airport to depart for Hajj on May 31, 2024. (Photo/Islamic Ministry)

Speaking at the airport, Minister Shaheem commended the comprehensive arrangements made for the departure of pilgrims, and in this trajectory, extended gratitude for those involved in the work.

“The airport has been prepared well. Maldives Hajj Corporation has prepared well,” he added.

Notably, this year’s 980 pilgrims will include 50 who received state-sponsored Hajj trips as part of an electoral pledge by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu to provide Hajj trips for 1,000 low-income individuals in his five-year term.

Like previous years, Islamic Ministry, this year as well, has made arrangements for pilgrims to travel to the airport from Male’ area.

Saudi Arabia approved a quota of 1,000 pilgrims from the Maldives for Hajj pilgrimage this year. The government has decided to allocate all the quotas to Maldives Hajj Corporation amid concerns surrounding high prices and fraud by private companies in the name of escorting pilgrims to Hajj.