With the Mecca Route initiative, Saudi Arabia facilitates the journey of pilgrims from Asia

Pilgrims from the capital of Pakistan were welcomed in a specially designed lounge for the Mecca route at Islamabad International Airport.

“The events at the airport are very efficient; we did not encounter any difficulties during the whole process ”, explains Arabic news Mohammed Akhtar, a pilgrim who joined Islamabad from Faisalabad.

The first group of Pakistani pilgrims is expected in Medina, Saudi Arabia on June 8, 2022; he will be welcomed in a lounge specially designed for the Mecca route at Islamabad airport. (Photo given)

“I applied for Hajj for the last four years and got permission this year. I thank Almighty Allah for giving me this opportunity. “

Loubna Asad is also a Pakistani pilgrim. She expressed her gratitude to the staff of the Mecca route for their cooperation.

“I’m really happy and I thank Saudi Arabia,” she told us.

In Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, the warm welcome from Saudi officials surprised many. Many of them went so far as to accept pilgrims in their mother tongue. There are a total of fourteen thousand three hundred Malaysian pilgrims who will make the Hajj journey this year.

Malaysian pilgrims complete pre-immigration formalities during the Makkah route initiative at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on June 28, 2022. (AN Photo)
Malaysian pilgrims complete pre-immigration formalities during the Makkah route initiative at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on June 28, 2022. (AN Photo)

“I felt the warmth of the welcome, even before I arrived in Saudi Arabia. What a welcome!” exclaims Ariff Abdallah, who boarded a flight to Jeddah from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

“I was making fun of the companion at the immigration counter. He knew a few words of Malaysian!”

The pre-immigration process allows pilgrims to focus on the spiritual aspect of their journey. In fact, all the administrative formalities have been taken care of.

“The Mecca Route initiative is very appropriate,” says Johar Yousouf, another pilgrim traveling from Kuala Lumpur. “It is fantastic!” he says.

Zainab Benti Awang uses a wheelchair, accompanied by her sister. What a great relief for her to be spared, thanks to the Mecca route, the burden of departure and arrival procedures!

Malaysian Hajj pilgrims complete pre-immigration formalities under the Makkah Route initiative at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on June 28, 2022. (AN Photo)
Malaysian Hajj pilgrims complete pre-immigration formalities under the Makkah Route initiative at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on June 28, 2022. (AN Photo)

“When we arrive in Jeddah, we will all be allowed to enter the kingdom without standing in line to complete immigration formalities,” she said. “On the spot, we take the bus without waiting to reach our hotel.”

Abdallah, Youssouf, Awang and many other agents helped the pilgrims at Kuala Lumpur airport. They claim so Arabic news that they have the honor of participating in the Mecca Route initiative.

“This initiative aims to simplify immigration formalities for pilgrims from their country of origin. It includes in particular the taking of fingerprints, the validation of entry formalities [en Arabie saoudite] and delivery of the luggage to the accommodation as soon as possible ”, explains to Arabic news Sergeant Major Anas Mohammed, who arrived from Jeddah. “I am honored to participate in the Mecca Route Initiative.”

Mohammed’s colleague, Sergeant Kholoud al-Ahmadi, is looking forward to helping the Malaysian pilgrims.

“It is an honor for me to take part in the Makkah Route initiative in Malaysia. I am really happy to be a part of this initiative; it is my first trip to Malaysia,” she said.

In Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world, 100,000 pilgrims will perform their spiritual duty this year.

Indonesian pilgrims show their respect on arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 2022. (Courtesy Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs)
Indonesian pilgrims show their respect on arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 2022. (Courtesy Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs)

Most of these pilgrims who dreamed of performing Hajj had to wait for several years on waiting lists. With a population exceeding 270 million, their country’s quota of pilgrims remains the highest. However, it takes time to accommodate them all.

Kamaria is a pilgrim from Aceh who has been waiting for twelve years to perform Hajj. Words are lacking for her to describe the feeling she feels at the thought of having the chance to pray in the great mosque of Mecca.

“I can not find the words to express my joy at seeing the Kaaba,” she confides Arabic news. “I feel like I want to stay there my whole life.”

Like other pilgrims, Kamaria has prepared for this journey, especially spiritually.

“Before we reach the Holy Land, we must first purify our hearts,” she explains. “We hope to be good Hajj pilgrims.”

Indonesian pilgrims prepare to leave Juanda International Airport in Surabaya on June 4, 2022. (June Kriswanto / AFP)
Indonesian pilgrims prepare to leave Juanda International Airport in Surabaya on June 4, 2022. (June Kriswanto / AFP)

The Makkah Route Initiative program is offered to Indonesians at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.

Iis Nouraisa reached the capital from the West Java province. Saudi officials monitored his departure from the airport and the process proceeded “quite satisfactorily”.

“The procedure is very convenient. It facilitates and speeds up the process and saves us control when we arrive in the Holy Land,” Ms. Nouraisa explains to Arabic news.

“It simplifies things, that’s for sure. It is much appreciated for the pilgrims who come to perform Hajj.

Malaysian pilgrim Ariff Abdallah speaks to Arab News at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on June 28, 2022. (AN Photo)
Malaysian pilgrim Ariff Abdallah speaks to Arab News at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on June 28, 2022. (AN Photo)

To the joy felt by the pilgrims before their departure is added the hospitality with which they are welcomed into the Kingdom.

“The service in the hotel, the food, the laundry, the service in the shops, the people … Everyone is very friendly, “he says Arabic news Amalia Sabrina, a doctor from Aceh, who arrived in Saudi Arabia last month.

“Along with my family, I constantly thank Allah for giving us the chance to perform Hajj this year.”

This text is the translation of an article published on Arabnews.com

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