ASTANA – Kazakh pilgrims have started arriving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, reported the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 17.
Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia and one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Shahadah (oath to God), Salah (prayer), Zakah (almsgiving), and Sawm (fasting of Ramadan). This year, Hajj will start on June 26, following the sighting of the moon in Saudi Arabia, and Eid al-Adha (Kurban Ait in Kazakh) will be marked on June 28.
The first group from Kazakhstan arrived in Medina on June 15, while another group of 144 pilgrims arrived in Jeddah two days later, where they were met by diplomats from the Kazakh Consulate General, including Consul General Ruslan Kospanov.
The government of Saudi Arabia has allocated a quota for Kazakhstan, with an expected 4,000 Kazakh citizens visiting holy sites between June 15 and July 10. The main rites of Hajj will be performed from June 27 to July 4.
The Kazakh pilgrims are traveling to Jeddah and Medina by SCAT Airlines (Kazakhstan), Turkish Airlines (Türkiye), Jazeera Airways (Kuwait), and Saudi FlyNas airlines on June 15-23, returning between July 2-10.
During the pilgrimage period, the consulate’s work will be enhanced, as they will coordinate with local authorities and ensure Kazakh citizens’ safety and timely return home. For this purpose, the consulate has established contacts with the government and aviation authorities of Saudi Arabia responsible for the Hajj 2023 season and with the Hajj mission of Kazakhstan.
The consulate also briefs the pilgrims on compliance with local laws and hygiene standards. The Kazakh doctors and local medical institutions will provide medical care to pilgrims round the clock.
Saudi Arabia has lifted restrictions on the pilgrimage that were in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has invited pilgrims worldwide, with an expected 2.6 million people performing Hajj this year.