128 Muslims from both Rwanda and Burundi have travelled to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia for their annual pilgrimage.
The pilgrims, who travelled in two groups, include 84 Rwandans and 44 Burundians. A total of 40 members left on Wednesday while the rest departed yesterday.
Speaking to The New Times, after the departure of the first group, Mufti Abdul Karim Gahutu, appealed to those availed with the chance to travel for the pilgrimage to uphold and live by the expected Islamic principles and set good example.
“This is an opportunity that is once in a life time and when our members are back, we expect them to be new believers since they get the chance to repent during the trip,” Gahutu said.
Some of the pilgrims were excited saying their long awaited turn had come.
“We believe we are just getting near Allah, something that gives me hope because I believe that after this visit, I will be starting a new life altogether,” said Isaac Munyakazi, who was part of the group.
Although Muslims who gathered to say farewell to their fellow believers were generally in high spirits, some appeared gloomy.
“I wish I could also afford to go for this visit, this would have been a landmark in my life especially as it is one decree a rightful Muslim should fulfill,” Safi Rutaremara lamented.
According to the Mufti, each of the pilgrims had to contribute a total of US$ 2,950.
In the Islamic faith, the annual pilgrimage earns a man the title of Hajj while a woman is referred to as Hajjat.