The annual Hajj pilgrimage, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, draws millions of Muslims from across the globe to the Holy City of Makkah al-Mukarama in Saudi Arabia.
This year’s pilgrimage, held from July 17-22, was attended by around 1.8 million pilgrims. Among them were 11,650 Somali pilgrims, according to official government records.
However, the pilgrimage was not without its challenges for the Somali pilgrims. According to Minister Muqtar Robow of Somalia’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, four Somali pilgrims, including two men and two women, died during the Hajj. The cause of their deaths is currently unknown.
In addition to the fatalities, 60 Somali pilgrims fell ill during the pilgrimage. However, most of them recovered after receiving immediate care. Minister Robow, who was present in Makkah al-Mukarama during the Hajj, spoke about the challenges faced by Somali pilgrims, including a delay in the buses serving lunch. However, this issue was promptly addressed and resolved.
Despite these challenges, the participation of Somali pilgrims in the Hajj was significant. Minister Robow acknowledged the presence of additional Somalis from various nationalities, indicating that the actual number of Somali pilgrims in attendance may have been higher than the official government count.
The Hajj is considered a mandatory religious duty for Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey. The pilgrimage is a time of spiritual reflection, as well as an opportunity for Muslims from diverse backgrounds to come together in a shared act of worship.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the host of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, places great emphasis on ensuring the safety and well-being of all pilgrims. In addition to providing medical care and other essential services, the Saudi government has implemented a range of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the pilgrimage, including limiting the number of attendees and requiring proof of vaccination.
The Hajj pilgrimage is a significant event for Muslims around the world, and the participation of Somali pilgrims highlights the diversity of the Muslim ummah.