Welcome back from the haj, and a happy birthday to grandma

Three siblings turned up at Changi Airport yesterday to greet their grandmother, housewife Azizah Sawal (in white tudung), who was returning from the haj in Mecca. Yesterday was her 57th birthday, and her grandchildren (from left) Hadi Danial, nine,
Yesterday was her 57th birthday, and her grandchildren (from left) Hadi Danial, nine, Auni Harisa, seven, and Natasha Iman, 11, surprised her with handmade signs. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Three siblings turned up at Changi Airport yesterday to greet their grandmother, housewife Azizah Sawal (in white tudung), who was returning from the haj in Mecca.

Yesterday was her 57th birthday, and her grandchildren Hadi Danial, nine, Auni Harisa, seven, and Natasha Iman, 11, surprised her with handmade signs.

She was among the 108 pilgrims welcomed home by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, also Minister for Communications and Information.

So far 95 per cent of the 680 pilgrims who went for the haj have come back, with the final batch returning tomorrow.

Dr Yaacob said he would continue to appeal to the Saudi authorities for an increase in Singapore's haj official quota from 680 to 800, and also ask for an additional 200, bringing the total to 1,000 yearly.

The lower quotas were imposed due to construction works in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which are expected to be completed next year, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'Welcome back from the haj, and a happy birthday to grandma'. Print Edition | Subscribe