SEPANG: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah on Tuesday (June 6) bid goodbye to Malaysian pilgrims who were leaving for the Holy Land for the 1444H/2023 Haj season.
His Majesty told the Malaysian pilgrims at the Sepang Haji Complex, Movenpick here that to be guests of God in the largest gathering of Muslims in the Holy Land would teach the pilgrims to be patient, tolerant and respectful of one another.
"Differences in skin colour, language, race and rank no longer matter between Muslims who gather in the Holy Land," he added.
"The Haj gathering teaches us to work together to achieve the desired goal. It also teaches us the noble values of life in order to unite the ummah."
In his address, Al-Sultan Abdullah also called on the pilgrims to learn from the unity of the ummah through the largest gathering of people in the Holy Land to serve as an example and guide in forging the spirit of unity and brotherhood in Malaysia.
Al-Sultan Abdullah also advised the pilgrims to always protect the country’s good name, obey all health rules and guidelines and observe the diet recommended by Tabung Haji.
"Take this opportunity to be God's guests to worship and give charity with all your heart," His Majesty said while thanking the government and Tabung Haji for always taking care of the welfare and comfort of Malaysian pilgrims.
At the same time, he also called on Tabung Haji to continue to take proactive steps in improving the provision of infrastructure services and facilities to the country's pilgrims.
His Majesty also expressed his appreciation to the government of Saudi Arabia for all the cooperation and assistance rendered in the management of the Malaysian pilgrims and hoped that the close ties that have been long established between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia would continue for the benefit of the pilgrims.
Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah also mingled with the pilgrims while wishing them a safe journey.
A total of 355 Malaysian pilgrims would depart for the Holy Land on a Saudia Airlines flight to Jeddah at 5.35pm on Tuesday from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and are expected to arrive at about 11.10pm (Saudi Arabia time).
Altogether, 31,600 Malaysian pilgrims will perform the fifth pillar of Islam during this year's haj season, with the help of 670 Tabung Haji personnel.
Flights for this year's haj season include 98 special charter flights involving Malaysia Airlines and Saudia Airlines compared to 48 flights last year.
The first flight departed on May 21 and the last flight is on June 21, while the pilgrims will gradually return home starting from July 6 and the last return flight is on Aug 2, 2023.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar, Tabung Haji group managing director and chief executive officer Syed Hamadah Syed Othman, Tabung Haji chairman Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and Saudi Arabia ambassador to Malaysia Mesaad Ibrahim Abdullah Al Sulaim were also present. - Bernama