Royal reception for Brunei pilgrims

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ ANN) - His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri yesterday consented to receive a Junjung Ziarah from this year’s intending Haj pilgrims.

The annual tradition, held at the Istana Nurul Iman, provides an opportunity for Bruneian pilgrims to meet with the monarch and express their gratitude for the support received from His Majesty in facilitating their journey to Makkah.

During the event, His Majesty was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, in receiving the male intending Haj pilgrims.

Meanwhile, Her Majesty was accompanied by Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman, in receiving the female intending Haj pilgrims.

Prior to the Junjung Ziarah, the intending pilgrims were treated to a meal prepared specially for them. They also performed mass Zohor prayer at the palace and were later presented with personal gifts from His Majesty through the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

The male pilgrims were each presented with a set of Ihram garments, while the female pilgrims received prayer veils.

This year, a total of 1,000 pilgrims - 401 males and 425 females – from the Sultanate will be performing the Haj for the first time, alongside 76 male and 98 female pilgrims who have already performed their Haj obligations before.

This year’s Haj group also includes 53 male pilgrims aged 60 years above, seven men aged 70 years and above, 59 women aged 60 years and above, five women aged 70 years and above, and three women aged 80 years and above.

These intending pilgrims from Brunei will embark on a spiritual journey that will take them half way across the world, to join millions of other Muslims in performing one of Islam’s mandatory pillars in Makkah and Madinah.

In this year’s Haj Package, 820 pilgrims are under the care of Darussalam Holdings Sdn Bhd, 139 under Straits Central Agencies (B) Sdn Bhd, and 41 under Raudah Al-Amin Sdn Bhd.

The first group of intending pilgrims will leave for Madinah, Saudi Arabia, on August 10 on the 2.56pm flight, with the second group to depart on August 11 at 5.32pm.

The third and fourth groups will depart on August 13 at 8.08pm, and August 14 at 10.08pm, respectively.

The return flights have been scheduled for September 10-11 for the first and second Haj flights, with the third and last Haj return flights to depart on September 12 and September 14 respectively.