Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan was in Saudi Arabia to perform several religious rituals that are pillars of Islam.
On Sunday, 2 April, His Royal Highness landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, where he was welcomed by Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Said, who is the Deputy Governor of Mecca.
The Jordanian Crown Prince then moved to Mecca, the holiest city in the Islamic religion, where he performed Umra, the traditional pilgrimage, with all its associated rituals.
Crown Prince Hussein then joined a group of other Jordanian pilgrims to break the fast for the day. The people he ate with were part of the Jordanian delegation sent to Saudi Arabia at the initiative of the Crown Prince himself to perform the Umra pilgrimage.
He then arrived at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, where he performed the Maghreb prayer, the fourth prayer of the day, which is generally held after Iftar (the meal that breaks the fast at sunset) during the month of Ramadan.
Crown Prince Hussein is not the first member of the Jordanian Royal Family to travel to Saudi Arabia for the traditional pilgrimage. At the end of March, Queen Rania was also in Jeddah, where she attended two art and cultural events connected to Ramadan.
On that occasion, the Royal Hashemite Court also announced plans for the Queen to travel to Mecca for pilgrimage, including the same setting for an Iftar banquet with members of the pilgrimage delegation that was in Saudi Arabia at the request of Queen Rania.
With this announcement, the Royal Hashemite Court has shed a bit more light on the traditions that are involved in this travel setting: Umra is the pilgrimage itself and is to be done exclusively to Mecca.
It is one of two Mecca pilgrimages in Islamic tradition, and contrary to Hajj, it can be undertaken any time of the year. Two main rituals are part of Umra: Tawaf, which entails circling the Kaaba seven times, and Sa’i, a walk that mimics Hagar’s search for water.
Maghreb prayer is the fourth prayer of the day according to Islamic law, and its practice varies a bit between Shia Islam and Sunni Islam. During Ramadan (the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which all healthy adults fast from sunrise to sunset), the Maghrib prayer also marks the end of fasting for the day, which is done with a meal called Iftar.
Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan is set to marry Rajwa Al Saif, a Saudi Arabia native, on 1 June, so this wasn’t the first time this year that he travelled to the country where his fiancée is from.