No Malawian taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage lost a life or got injured on Thursday in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, officials at the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) have said.
In an interview, acting Secretary General for MAM, Twaibu Lawe said he had communicated with leader of the Malawi team who confirmed that they were all safe.
“We have been in touch with our colleagues in Mecca and they have told us that no Malawian has lost a life and no-one got injured.
“We sympathise with those who lost their relatives, and friends in Mecca. I need also to mention however, that when you die during Hajj, we believe that you go straight to paradise.”
Lawe added that he would have been happy to die in Mecca himself, saying “that means I would have gone straight to paradise.”
Meanwhile, Lawe has said the stampede will not affect their future trips to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage.
Thursday’s stampede was the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.
During the Hajj, pilgrims travel to Mina, a large valley about 5km (3 miles) from Mecca, to throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which represent the devil.
The pillars stand where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.
According to the Islamic religion, the Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam, and it is the journey that every able-bodied adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it.
The number of people attending Hajj rose from 57,000 in 1921 to a high of 3.2 million three years ago, according to the Saudi Central Department of Statistics and Information.