Muscat: As many as 14,000 pilgrims who have registered with Oman’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs (Awqaf) online, will be performing Haj rituals this year.
Out of this, 13,500 are Omanis who include 402 defence personnel, 250 Arab nationals and 250 non-Arabs. Besides this, the Oman Haj Mission will comprise 700 supporting staff from various departments.
What makes this year’s Haj pilgrimage from Oman all the more different is that 19 cancer patients are also performing Haj.
“We wanted to help and support the disabled, cancer patients and give priority to the elderly as well as first-timers who have applied for performing Haj this year”, said Sultan bin Saeed al Hinai, Head of Omani Haj Mission, and Abdul Aziz al Ghafry, Deputy Head of Oman Haj Mission.
He was addressing a press conference attended by representatives of all stakeholders and held at the Ministry to announce the details of the Haj pilgrimage. He said that the first flight carrying the pilgrims from Oman will leave on July 28. ” This will be followed by another flight two days later,” he said.
According to him, the Ministry received 20,754 registrations from across the country to perform holy Haj this year includes applications from 86 elderly and disabled, patients afflicted with cancer, as well as one family member each from 447 deceased people who left their dream of performing holy haj behind, to carry out the rituals of haj this year.
The online registration of this year’s Haj was began on March 12 and and ended on March 22.
There were applications from across the country with Al Dhakhiliyah topping the list with 3,926 registrations, followed by North Al Batinah (3384); Muscat (2809); North Al Sharqiya (1990); Dhofar (1919); South Al Batinah (1869); South Al Sharqiyah (1658); Al Dhahira (1083); Al Buraimi (361); Al Wusta (127); and Musandam (123).
The ministry has approved 85 companies to transport Arab pilgrims and three companies to transport non-Arab pilgrims to the holy land. Further, Al Ghafri added that 88.2 per cent of the pilgrims are from 18 to 60 years age groups.
Majority of the pilgrims (44.3 per cent) fall in the 30-45 years age brackets. Out of this, 60 year olds constitute to 11.8 per cent while pilgrims between 18 to 30 years amount to 7.4 per cent.