Makkah, Saudi Arabia: Pilgrims have begun Hajj rituals on Wednesday as millions of faithful from across the world have started reaching Mina from Makkah Mukarrama.
Hajj rituals started in Makkah when the pilgrims put on ‘Ihram’ and after performing Fajr prayer, started their journey to Mina. The teeming millions of Muslim devotees will be reaching Mina today evening from Makkah Mukarrama for the performance of Hajj rituals. The biggest tent village will be erected in Mina, where over 2.5 millions of pilgrims will pass the night.
Last year nearly 3 million pilgrims performed the Haj, with roughly a third from inside the conservative kingdom. The Saudi authorities said there have so far been 1.7 million arrivals from abroad and about 200,000 from inside Saudi Arabia.
The Grand Mosque, the focal point of the Islamic faith, is already teeming with joyful pilgrims at dawn on Monday, wearing the simple white folds of cloth prescribed for Haj, many of them having slept on the white marble paving outside. “I feel proud to be here because it’s a visual message that Muslims are united. People speaking in all kind of languages pray to the one God,” said Fahmi Mohammed al-Nemr, 52, from Egypt.
Haj must be performed at least once in lifetime by all Muslims capable of making the expensive, difficult journey, a duty that applies equally to all Muslims.
“I would love to live here for the rest of my life. There’s no such place in the entire world. This is a blessed country,” said Ziad Adam, 23, a theology student from Kenya.