First Indonesian pilgrims depart for this year’s Hajj
The first batch of Hajj pilgrims from Indonesia, about 6,000 Muslims from across the archipelago nation, departed for Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the annual pilgrimage in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
With an estimated 229,000 Indonesian pilgrims expected to perform the spiritual journey this year, the Southeast Asian nation will be sending the biggest contingent of any country.
More than 16 groups, comprising over 6,300 pilgrims, were leaving from Indonesian cities, including Jakarta, Aceh and Makassar.
“I hope that all Indonesian pilgrims will perform the Hajj pilgrimage well, with ease and smoothly, and return to the motherland safely,” Religious Affairs
Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said, as he sent off the first group in Jakarta.
“Don’t forget to pray for Indonesia.”
As about a third of Indonesian pilgrims this year are seniors, or people above the age of 65, Qoumas also offered some health advice.
“Don’t push yourself to do a lot of activities, especially when your health is not too great,” he said. “Don’t be reluctant to ask or consult others if there are
concerns regarding health. There are officers ready to serve, protect and guide all the pilgrims.”
The Indonesian Hajj Organization Committee said officers stationed in Madinah are ready to welcome the pilgrims as they arrive throughout the day and nearing midnight.
“It’s all been very smooth so far,” Subhan Cholid, who heads the committee in Saudi Arabia, told Arab News by phone from Madinah.
The first group of Indonesian pilgrims, comprising almost 400 people from Jakarta, arrived in Islam’s second-holiest city on Wednesday morning.
“From their faces, even though they have been through a pretty long journey, they don’t look tired. They are very happy to be going for Hajj and that they have arrived in the holy land,” Cholid said.
“That happiness is an energy booster. They looked full of spirit.”