Minister Qoumas sends off first batch of departing Hajj pilgrims

Minister Qoumas sends off first batch of departing Hajj pilgrims

Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas greets Hajj pilgrims before their departure for Saudi Arabia at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Banten, Wednesday (May 24, 2023) morning. (ANTARA PHOTO/Wahyu Putro/nbl).

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas sent off Indonesia's Hajj pilgrims of the first flight batch from the Jakarta-Pondok Gede embarkation point at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Tangerang, Banten, on Wednesday morning.

Upon arrival at the airport, Qoumas greeted the Hajj pilgrims waiting at the departure hall and observed conditions at the fast-track immigration checkpoint provided for Hajj pilgrims.

Saudia Arabian Ambassador to Indonesia Faisal Abdullah Al-Amudi was also present to send off the 393 Hajj pilgrims.

"Do not hesitate to ask or consult (officers) if you experience any health issue. We have also prepared officers, who will serve, protect, and guide Hajj pilgrims," the minister told some pilgrims whom he met at the airport.

Pilgrims departing for Saudi Arabia this year to perform Hajj -- one of the five pillars of Islam -- are those chosen by Allah, he emphasized.

The minister then underscored the need for prime physical conditions while performing Hajj and stressed that the pilgrims should be mindful of their health conditions while departing for Saudi Arabia, performing Hajj, and returning to Indonesia.

"Do not compel yourselves while performing Hajj rituals, particularly sunnah (recommended but not obligatory) activities, especially when you are not healthy," Qoumas remarked.

He then drew attention to the different climatic conditions in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia and emphasized that pilgrims should acclimate themselves to the Saudi Arabian climate, which is hotter than Indonesia.

Qoumas is upbeat that Hajj pilgrims would make the most of the Hajj pilgrimage to perform their rituals, albeit always being mindful of and prioritizing their health.

Pilgrims can also consult with their Hajj guides regarding any confusion or issues in their rituals and seek medical assistance from Hajj health officers on standby, he added.

"I hope all Indonesian Hajj pilgrims can perform their Hajj pilgrimage well, easily, and smoothly and return home safely," the minister stated. 

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