Pakistani actor Fawad Khan represented Pakistan at the closing ceremony of Hajj, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Media.
During a speech at a reception for the foreign delegates at Hajj, Khan congratulated King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“I’d like to congratulate them for a successful Hajj, which was accomplished because of their sincere efforts,” he said in the presence of Media Minister Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad.
“I’m also happy to see that the message of peace and tolerance has been a continuous agenda, even with the slogan for the Hajj this year. The Kingdom has embraced the world with open arms.”
He said Saudi Arabia through its Vision 2030 is leading the Muslim world while projecting the Islamic values of moderation, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
“The world today has huge respect and appreciation for the young crown prince, who has become an example for the younger Muslim generation,” he said.
Khan was full of praise for the Media Ministry's arrangements for its guests.
“The Hajj was made very easy by the ministry. The facilities made everything comfortable despite the blistering heat,” he said.
“The arrangements were seamless. At Jamrat, where the stoning ritual takes place, there is a sea of people coming down and you feel like it is going to be impossible. Then you get into the crowd and you start moving slowly but comfortably. There is still space to move even though it looks like it is impossible. And then, suddenly, you are done. All this is possible only because there is an efficient security force and a government that is paying close attention to how everything is happening. And they are trying to make it flow as easily as possible. Kudos to them,” he said.
“And people are very helpful. There is obviously a language barrier, but you overcome that somehow.”
Khan prised his Saudi hosts, saying: “The banquet arranged for guests is a reflection of the host. A lot of love and affection goes into it. It is not about the quantity that you are given but the quality. And our experience was of the highest quality because there was a lot of care, love and affection in it. The pilgrimage was made very pleasurable.”
What was the highlight of Khan’s pilgrimage? “The whole experience was very spiritual,” he said. “I remember on the night before the trek to Arafat, there was a wind blowing and it suddenly started raining, and lightning was streaking the sky. It was humbling and it felt like someone from on high was talking to us.”
The decision to perform Hajj came easily to Khan. “A close associate said to me, ‘When the call comes from Allah, you must go.’ So when we got the invitation from the Ministry of Media, we happily accepted it. This was the start and it was more like a guided tour. If I get the chance again, I’ll be quiet about it.”
Khan’s wife, Sadaf, who accompanied him, was happy with the pilgrimage, too. “She was very moved and she is going home carrying a lot of love,” Khan said.