Sami Zayn Makes Pilgrimage To Mecca Ahead Of WWE Night Of Champions

With diplomatic tensions between Saudi Arabia and Syria cooling off, WWE Undisputed Tag Team Champion Sami Zayn is now able to visit Saudi Arabia for not only professional obligations but religious ones as well. Zayn took to Twitter to celebrate completing an Umrah, which is a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca that takes place outside of Hajj season. The Hajj is the mandatory pilgrimage, and one of the five pillars of Islam, which this year takes place between June 26 and July 1, and requires many more rituals than the Umrah.

"Being a pro wrestler and being with WWE has taken me to places I never dreamed I'd get to see and do things I never thought I'd get to do," Zayn wrote. "It has provided me a life filled with incredible experiences that I will cherish forever. This one is at the top of the list." Zayn then finished the tweet with the Arabic script for "alhamdulillah" which can mean "praise be to God," or "thank God."

While WWE has a partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority, tensions between Saudi Arabia and Syria had existed since 2011 due to Saudi Arabia's involvement in the Syrian Civil War, which itself was related to the ongoing issues between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as Iran supported the Syrian government, while Saudi Arabia supported opposition forces. These issues led to Zayn being unable to attend WWE events in Saudi Arabia due to safety concerns, as Zayn is of Syrian descent. Saudi Arabia and Syria began normalizing diplomatic relations in April, opening the door for not only Zayn's title defense against Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa, but also his Umrah.