The Hajj pilgrimage begins in Saudi Arabia, with 2 million people expected.
MINA, Saudi Arabia
Muslim pilgrims in Mecca circled the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, and then descended on a massive tent camp in the adjacent desert on Monday, formally resuming the annual Hajj trip for the first time since the coronavirus.
More than 1.8 million pilgrims from all over the world have already gathered in and around Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage, and the number is still rising as more pilgrims from within Saudi Arabia join, according to Ayedh al-Ghweinim, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Hajj Ministry. Authorities have stated that they predict more than 2 million pre-COVID levels this year.
Egyptian businessman Yehya said he was at a loss for words when he arrived in Mina, one of the world’s largest tent camps outside Mecca, where pilgrims would spend the majority of the Hajj.
The trip is one of Islam’s five pillars, and all Muslims must do the five-day Hajj at least once in their lifetimes if they are physically and financially capable. It is a very powerful spiritual experience for pilgrims that cleanses sins, brings them closer to God, and connects the world’s more than 1.8 billion Muslims. Some people save for years and wait for permission before embarking on the adventure.
The Hajj pilgrimage rites primarily honor the Quranic tales of Ibrahim, his son Ismail, and Ismail’s mother Hajar. Pilgrims have been making the customary round around the Kaaba since they arrived in Mecca a few days ago. The pilgrims made their journey to Mina by foot or bus, as the last ones did on Monday.
After conducting the customary circumambulation of the Kaaba, pilgrims started off in sweltering heat towards Mina, roughly seven km distant. Pilgrims dressed in robes and sandals, many clutching umbrellas against the scorching heat, walked or piled aboard hundreds of air-conditioned buses provided by Saudi officials. The Hajj pilgrimage begins in Saudi Arabia
Soldiers doused pilgrims with water in Mina to keep them cool in the heat of the desert plain, where there is little shade from the searing sun. The devout pitched their tents, resting in rows of cubicles and praying together in preparation for the next ceremonies.
They will spend the night in Mina, which hosts the world’s biggest encampment every year, before the Haj’s high point on Tuesday: prayers at Mount Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) gave his last speech.
Pilgrims packed the majority of the tents, which have two to three beds and are equipped with water and food, just after lunchtime. The event moved many others as they fulfilled a lifetime desire by visiting the locations where Islam originated.
According to Saudi officials, this year’s Haj might be the largest in history. Because of the Covid epidemic, attendance was capped in 2020, 2021, and 2022 after 2.5 million in 2019.
Heat is one of the major concerns this year at the Haj, which follows the lunar calendar, especially now that maximum age limits have been lifted.
To avoid sunstroke, the health ministry has advised pilgrims to use umbrellas during the day and has advised the sick and elderly to stay indoors around midday.
According to government authorities, four(4) hospitals and twenty-six (26) medical clinics are prepared to treat sick pilgrims in Mina, and more than one hundred and ninety (190) ambulances have been arranged.
Pilgrims will go to Mount Arafat, a desert peak where the Prophet Muhammad is claimed to have delivered his last speech, on Tuesday. Following that, they collect stones from a location known as Muzdalifa to be utilized in the symbolic stoning of devil-like pillars in Mina. The Hajj’s last three days coincide with the celebratory Eid al-Adha celebration when Muslims worldwide slaughter cattle and distribute the meat to the needy and poor. The Hajj pilgrimage begins in Saudi Arabia
In 2019, almost 2.4 million pilgrims took part in the Hajj pilgrimage. In 2020, Saudi Arabia restricted the pilgrimage to a few thousand nationals and local inhabitants because of international coronavirus lockdowns. Last year, slightly under 900,000 people came because Saudi Arabia only authorized a restricted number of foreign pilgrims.