The owner and workers of a date farm here, which was severely affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, happily greeted the arrival of 28 buses carrying Malaysian haj pilgrims.
The atmosphere was instantly filled with boisterous chatter between workers promoting the products and the pilgrims bargaining to get the best price.
The visitors were allowed to taste various types of dates, nuts and chocolate products before buying them to be brought home to Malaysia.
Previously, the government of Saudi Arabia restricted the number of pilgrims and imposed age limits on individuals wanting to perform the Haj pilgrimage due to the pandemic.
In January this year, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Haj and Umrah Dr Tawfiq Fawzan Al-Rabiah announced that the kingdom would remove the COVID-19 restrictions including age limits for this season.
Besides visiting the date farm, the itinerary of the programme organised by Tabung Haji also involved the visit to the Quba Mosque, the first mosque built by the Prophet Muhammad SAW after he migrated to Madinah from Mekah, where the pilgrims had the opportunity to perform prayers.
They also visited Mount Uhud which recorded a dark moment in Islamic history when Muslims were defeated by the Quraysh in the Battle of Uhud, as well as the Qiblatain Mosque, which is historically important to Muslims.
A medical officer, Dr Muhammad Saifullah Shaarani, 34, from Teluk Intan, Perak when met said the programme allowed him to relive his last visit to the historical sites in 2010.
He said being in these locations increases the love he has for Prophet Muhammad SAW, adding people must follow his teachings and continue his struggles and dakwah (Islamic propagation).
A total of 98 flights carrying 31,600 prospective pilgrims are scheduled to depart in stages either to Madinah or Mekah, with the last flight of the Haj season on June 21.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency