July 27, 2020, 08.00 PM

After that, Daud was moved to a hotel in Mecca, where she remains in self-isolation, still wearing the electronic wristband.

A large box of food is delivered to her hotel room three times a day as she prepares to begin the hajj.

“It was unbelievable. It felt surreal because I was not expecting to get it," she said of her excitement when she found out she was selected. Daud said she's praying for the end of Covid-19 and for unity among Muslims around the world.

“I am confident that safety measures are being taken and that the only thing that we need to do as pilgrims is follow instructions, and try our best to support each other," she said.

While self-isolating has been emotionally challenging, Daud said she is part of a group of about 10 Malaysian and Singaporean pilgrims connecting online and sharing tips and religious exercises to keep busy.

The Saudi government is covering the expenses of all pilgrims this year, providing them with meals, hotel accommodation, transportation and health care.

Normally, the hajj can cost thousands of dollars for pilgrims who save a lifetime for the journey. It also generates billions of dollars in revenue each year for Saudi Arabia.

Saudi kings have for generations assumed titles as custodians of Islam’s holiest sites, and their oversight of the hajj is a source of prestige and influence among Muslims globally.

Saudi Arabia has never canceled the hajj in the nearly 90 years since the country was founded.

For the first time in Saudi history, no pilgrims from abroad were permitted to take part in the hajj due to concerns about the coronavirus and overcrowding.

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