244 pilgrims leave for Umrah

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds


A TOTAL of 244 pilgrims yesterday left for Saudi Arabia, through the Darussalam Holdings Sdn Bhd, to perform Umrah.

More Bruneian pilgrims are now looking at Umrah to perform _ibadah _at Mekah and Madinah following the quota limitation for Haj.

The quota limitation for Haj pilgrims to perform Umrah, means a win-win situation for Darussalam Holding, said Hj Haironni Hj Kamis, Darussalam Holdings Sdn Bhd’s Senior Executive Officer, Marketing & Product Development in an interview with The Brunei Times.

The Haj quota for Bruneian pilgrims is set at 400 due to the ongoing upgrading of the two Mosques – Masjidil Haram in Mekah and Masjid Nabawi in Madinah.

There is a limitation on Haj but there is no limitation for Umrah, he said.

Hj Haironni is leading the pilgrims. The pilgrims are accompanied by five officers from the Darussalam Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Yesterday’s flight was one of the seven under Darussalam Holding. The next flights will be on December 22, 23 and 28. The December 28 flight will be the second largest with 189 pilgrims.

The number of those who flew out to Saudi Arabia yesterday made the group the largest to leave this month.

Umrah refers to visiting Mekah and Madinah and performing specific religious deeds outside of the designated Haj pilgrimage dates.

Umrah visa is usually issued during the month of Safar in the Islamic calendar.

The month of Safar this year falls in December and it coincided with the long school holidays, he said.

The long school vacation in December usually sees an increase in the number of people performing Umrah.

He urged those who wished to perform Umrah to register early to avoid disappointment.

“Seats are limited especially during school holidays. During the school holidays, the seats are selling like hot cakes, we have to be on first come, first serve basis,” he said.

Darussalam Holdings have been offering Muslim pilgrimage packages since 1998.

Hj Haironni said Darussalam Holdings organised briefings on Umrah management and religious lessons on how to best perform their Umrah and the information they need to be aware of.

“There is no need to bring unnecessary stuff such as your identity card and bank account books,” he said.

“We always tell them the scenario. This is a 10-hour long flight and there will be a lot of waiting at the airport. The journey from Jeddah to Madinah takes six hours by bus. You have to be physically and mentally fit to perform Umrah. So we have to be ready and patient with a lot of things and hiccups along the way. Our patience will be tested but remember our intention that is to perform umrah,” he said.

The pilgrims also have to undergo medical checkups as precaution.

“For senior citizens and those who have a medical condition, we advised them to provide a letter from the doctor stating that they are fit to fly,” he added.

The Brunei Times