Millions of Muslims worldwide are heading to the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.
Last year, 1,325,372 foreign and 537,537 domestic pilgrims performed Hajj, making a total of 1,862,909 pilgrims – the least number recorded in the last 10 years. The Saudi Arabia government has increased the quota of pilgrims from all the 178 registered countries with 950,000 pilgrims expected to arrive at Jeddah, 750,000 at Madinah and 100,000 by land and sea.
Gambia is also sending 1,700 pilgrims this year. Flights have already started leaving the country. The Hajj commission and Gambia International Airlines (GIA), the national carrier, being the facilitators of the annual Hajj, say necessary arraignments have been made for a successful Hajj.
Although the National Hajj Commission had announced a reduction of D10, 0000 from the fees of D220, 000 for last year, the cost of Hajj is still considered very high by some.
Every year, hundreds of Gambians join millions of Muslim worshippers from around the world, who converged in Mecca to fulfill the fifth pillar in Islam, which is obligatory upon every Muslim who has the health and wealth to perform Hajj.