5,500 Kenyan muslims to attend Mecca Pilgrimage

Some 5,500 Muslims will attend the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with The Standard, Hussein Shariff Omar, who will fly out today, said Kenyans have been travelling in batches. The last group of 1,000 pilgrims is expected to leave tomorrow.

He said a third of the Kenyan pilgrims are women.

Mr Shariff said the faithful plan to hold special prayers for Kenya in Mecca.

"We shall be seeking Allah's divine intervention to help Kenyans prosper. We all know what happened during the elections. Kenya was a divided state and there was tension. We thank God that we are seeing normalcy and that political leaders are reaching out to one another to embrace peace, which we all need here," Shariff said.

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The Kenyans will join over two million Muslim faithful from all over the world in Mecca.

The hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, a mandatory duty for all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable, which must be performed at least once in a lifetime. The rich and poor alike go for the hajj dressed in white garments.

Following the death of hundreds of people in a stampede in 2015, Saudi authorities have come up with several safety measures.

These include suspended access to the Kaaba during prayers. Walking around the building has also been stopped to avoid overcrowding.

Saudi authorities have started issuing pilgrims with identification bracelets with a bar code readable by smartphone. It holds data on the pilgrim’s identity, nationality, and place of lodging in Mecca. 

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