First batch of Ugandan Pilgrims return from Mecca

A group of 74 Ugandan pilgrims returned Monday from Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after completing the Hajj. This is the first Hajj attended by Ugandans after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group led by former Supreme Mufti, Sheik Sulaiman Kasule Ndirangwa touched down at Entebbe Airport 4pm aboard Qatar Airways.

According to Sheik Ndirangwa, the group was able to travel with a clean bill of health and as well complete all the required rituals.

“Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala has been merciful to us through the entire pilgrimage, we were able to visit all the places following in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with out any hindrances save for minor illnesses like flu and cough.” he said.

Other groups are expected to return to the country during the week.

In 2020, the pandemic prompted Saudi authorities to allow only 1,000 domestic pilgrims to participate in the yearly Hajj, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.

The number, however increased to 60,000 fully vaccinated citizens and residents chosen through a lottery in 2021.

This year, Saudi Arabia allowed a total of 899,353 pilgrims to perform the rituals, 119,434 of which are from inside the kingdom.

However, the number is still lower than pre-pandemic rates. Some 2.5 Muslims participated in 2019’s Hajj season.

All able Muslims are required to perform a Hajj — one of the five pillars of Islam, at least once in their lifetime.

The Hajj consists of a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca, and the surrounding areas of western Saudi Arabia.

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