AS news of the tragedy that saw five members of the same Newport family killed on a pilgrimage to Mecca began to spread around the city yesterday, Melissa Jones visited the family’s mosque to see how their many friends were coping.

PRAYERS were said in Newport yesterday for a tragic city family killed in a horrific car crash while on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Around 25 people gathered at the Jamia Mosque to pay their respects to five members of the Hayat family, on the same afternoon as their funerals were taking place thousands of miles away in Saudi Arabia.

Shaukat Ali Hayat, 56, his wife, Abida, 54, eldest son Mohammed Isshaq, 33, daughter Saira Zenub and Mohammed’s wife, Bilques, who had eight weeks left before she was due to give birth, were killed when the taxi they were travelling in left a motorway in the early hours of Friday.

The only survivor was Bilques’ son, one-year-old Mohammed Eisa Danial Hayat, who was found in the arms of his grandfather.

The young orphan is expected to return home with family members who are in Saudi Arabia in the next couple of days.

Before the crash the family had performed the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims at any time of the year, because Saira Zenub was just days away from getting married.

The five men and women were buried yesterday in a graveyard called the Jannat-ul-Baqi, Medina, alongside famous names of the Islamic faith.

Jamia secretary Abdul Rehman Mujahid, 62, said he received a call from Cllr Ibrahim Hayat, Shaukat’s brother, shortly after the ceremony, to say he was happy the family were “at the feet of our prophets”, because Medina is a blessed place for muslims.

The men worship together at the mosque and are good friends.

“The community is living as a family and it has lost five members,” he said.

Imam Rafiqur Rehman, 33, said the Hayats were in the mosque’s prayers ever since the accident.

Shaukat Hayat had only returned from another holy trip around two weeks ago and the pair looked at his pictures of Jerusalem together.

He said: “It’s heartbreaking for us, especially the people who come to the mosque. Shaukat would often come here and pray.

“His wife was very in touch with the community, she would come and help us. They were a very good family and we will miss them a lot.”

Another Imam, Hafiz Nasar, said Shaukat was very much looking forward to the family trip.

He said: “I saw him three weeks before he went, we had a visiting scholar from Pakistan and Shaukat told me he was going.

“He had love for Islam and the community.

When you were sitting by him he always talked about good things. He was a very social person, always very happy.

“People loved him and they are so sorry for him and his family.”

Around 500 people are expected to head to the Pill mosque on Friday for prayers, and more will take place when the family return, Imam Rehman said.