LAHORE – Pakistani pilgrims will start their journey back to the country next week as annual Haj pilgrimage culminates today (Sunday).
The post-haj operation that will continue from September 6 to October 5 will be carried out by designated airlines including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Shaheen Airlines, Saudi Airline and Air Blue.
Tonight, the pilgrims will move to their places of accommodation in Makkah after performing the rami (stoning of the devil) and offering special prayers seeking the Almighty’s blessing for success in this world and the hereafter.
This year over 2.3 million people from different corners of the world including more than 179,000 Pakistanis performed haj.
As many as 21,000 pilgrims left from Lahore through government hajj scheme while another 15,600 pilgrims departed through private quota, shows government data.
Pre-hajj operation was started on July 25 from Lahore and initial flights reached directly to Madinah Munawarrah during first 15 days of the operation, while other flights reached directly to Jeddah from Pakistan.
Haj, a five-day ritual which retraces the journey the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) took 14 centuries ago, is a religious duty once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.
It is the world’s largest annual Muslim gathering, with the faithful coming from nearly every country in the world, speaking dozens of languages and sometimes practicing Islam in different ways based on local customs or traditions.