The first batch of 500 out of 1500 Muslim pilgrims destined for the Hajj in Mecca are set to depart tomorrow, Friday 19, 2016 from the Tamale International Airport to Jedda, Saudi Arabia.

The Hajj takes place from the 9th to the 15th of Zul-Hijjah which is the last month of the Hijri calendar.

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

Read more: Muslim prigrims to be flown from Tamale airport

The gathering during Hajj is considered the largest annual gathering of people in the world.

The state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita’ah, and a Muslim who fulfills this condition is called a mustati.

The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah).

The refurbished facility will see the maiden flight of Muslims from Northern Ghana to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

In an interview with Citi FM, Alhaji Mohammed Amin Lamptey, Deputy Public Relations Officer of the National Hajj Committee said, “This year, Saudi Arabia have developed a new strategy where each pilgrim will get a gadget to identify pilgrims; where they are coming from, the language they speak, and that particular gadget would help to monitor and evaluate pilgrims when they are participating in this year’s rituals."

See also: 5 Ghanaians confirmed dead, five missing in Mecca

Last year in 2015, the Hajj board confirmed that 12 Ghanaians died in a stampede near the holy city of Mecca.

At least 310 were killed and hundreds injured in a stampede in Mina, on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca.

In the lead-up to hajj, at least 107 people were killed and nearly 400 wounded when a crane collapsed in bad weather, crashing on to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.