Saudi minister inspects health facilities for Hajj pilgrims

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Sports stars and celebrities performing Hajj share an emotional journey on social media

RIYADH: Legendary Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar, English spinner Adil Rashid and former Indian actress Sana Khan have shared snippets of their emotional Hajj journey on social media.

Akhtar, one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket who towered over the opposition batsman with his blistering pace, said Saudi authorities had invited him to perform the “honorary Hajj”.

“Going to Honorary Hajj as a State Guest of Saudi Arabia. I will also be speaking at the Hajj conference which will be attended by leaders of the Muslim world in Makkah,” the cricketer-turned-turned-player tweeted. commentator, showing photos of him in Ihram attire.

In another tweet, he posted a photo with the caption: “At the Grand Hajj Symposium 2022 representing Pakistan in the Holy Land of Makkah Mukarramah”.

The Pakistani cricket star also expressed his gratitude to the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for the honor.

In a series of tweets documenting his “beautiful trip from Makkah to Madinah”, he shared videos of the two holy cities, including a unique view of the Holy Kaaba from the top of Makkah’s clock tower, the Haramain high-speed railway station in Makkah, the Quba Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Akhtar, who retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup, became popular for his aggressively paced attack during his career. His fans called him the “Rawalpindi Express” because he bowled 100 miles per hour at least twice in his prime, making him the fastest bowler.

Cricketer Rashid, meanwhile, skipped England’s series against India to embark on the Hajj pilgrimage.

Rashid said earlier this year that he had “reached the right moment in his life” to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

He has been cleared by the England and Wales Cricket Board and his Yorkshire club to perform the Hajj and is expected to return in mid-July ahead of England’s clean ball series against South Africa.

“I wanted to do it for a little while, but I found it quite difficult with the timings,” Rashid told ESPNcricinfo. “This year I felt like it was something I had to do and something I wanted to do too.”

He added: “I’ve spoken to the ECB and Yorkshire about it, and they’ve been very understanding and encouraging, like, ‘Yeah, you do what you have to do and come back when you can. My wife and I are going there and I will be there for a few weeks.

“It’s a huge moment: every religion has its own thing, but for Islam and for being a Muslim, it’s one of the most important. This is a great thing for my faith and for myself. I knew I had to do it while I’m young, strong and healthy. It’s something I’m really committed to doing.

Congratulating Rashid and wishing him the best on his life’s journey, England Cricket, the official Twitter account of the England cricket team, tweeted: “Hajj Mubarak, Rash. We all wish Adil good luck as he makes the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah.

Khan, a former Indian actress who left the entertainment world for religious reasons saying she wants to serve humanity, shared a video montage of arriving in Saudi Arabia for her first Hajj with her husband, Anas Saiyad.

Taking to Instagram, Khan was seen smiling and posing with Saiyad after arriving in Makkah.

In the clip, the two wear Ihram clothes to begin their Hajj journey. Part of her caption reads, “I can’t wait to have the greatest journey of my Hajj life with my husband.”

In another post, she wrote, “I have no words to express my feelings. May Almighty Allah accept our Hajj and make it easy.

“This whole vibe of coming to the house of Allah is so fulfilling. May Allah make it easy for everyone who performs Umrah and Hajj here,” she posted.

On Thursday, she tweeted: “I am leaving for Mina today for Hajj. If I hurt anyone knowingly or unknowingly, please forgive me, for God’s sake. I say this from the bottom of my heart to please forgive me. May Allah the Almighty have mercy on you. »

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