MAKKAH: Hundreds of thousands of Muslims began the annual Hajj pilgrimage on Wednesday, donning traditional white garments and heading to the tent city of Mina outside Makkah in an itinerary retracing the route Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) took 14 centuries ago.
Over 2 million worshippers, from nearly every country, have arrived in the Kingdom for the five-day ritual, which is a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.
Some prayed at the Grand Mosque before heading to the Mina area or toward Mount Arafat, east of Makkah, where Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had delivered his final sermon to followers.
MINA: More than two million Muslims from around the world arrived in Mina to spend the day of Tarwiyah and follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Pilgrims will then head to Mount Arafat on Thursday.
Thousands of security men accompanied the flows of pilgrims along Mina’s wide roads, bridges and tunnels. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) mission at the holy sites monitored the pilgrims heading from Makkah to Mina. Their journey went smoothly despite the huge number of vehicles and pedestrians. Traffic patrols were assisted by security forces in their efforts to organize the traffic, guide pilgrims and maintain security.
The Ministry of Health is offering medical and health care services to pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season by providing thousands of doctors, nurses and specialists appointed to serve pilgrims.
MAKKAH: During Hajj, humanitarian work grows significantly among everyone at the holy sites and people devote themselves to charity, racing and competing to do so despite the hot weather.
Many scenes reflected the presence of humanity as pilgrims started arriving in Mina to spend the day of Tarwiyah. Arab News cameras caught many of these moments during the first day of this year’s Hajj season.
Egyptian pilgrim Saber Mohammed told Arab News, as he was pushing his son in his wheelchair: “I came from Egypt to perform Hajj. My son had a car accident and can’t move so we came here asking God to heal him.”
RIYADH: Prices of sacrificial animals are soaring as residents throng to Riyadh’s cattle markets ahead of Eid Al-Adha on Friday.
The markets are swarming with buyers and sellers, and the festive mood is evident, with public sector offices having started the Eid Al-Adha holiday last Friday, while a six-day holiday will begin on Thursday for the private sector.
Residents browse for cattle to slaughter, an important ritual during this festival of sacrifice. Goats, sheep, cows and camels are among the animals slaughtered in commemoration of the Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his son Ismail to show obedience to Allah.
At the last minute Allah changed his mind…
MINA: Thanks to computer technology and SMS messaging, pilgrims were able to make their Eid Al-Adha sacrifice without getting blood on their hands.
The more than 1.8 million pilgrims from around the world had the option of computerized coupons to order a sacrifice — without even seeing the animal.
Many among the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims themselves pick up a knife and kill sheep or other animals to mark Eid Al-Adha.
“If each pilgrim himself sacrificed a sheep, there wouldn’t be enough space,” said Rabie Saleh, a Sudanese in line at a Saudi Post office at the Jamrat Bridge. In the past, pilgrims themselves sacrificed animals before handing meat to the poor.
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Also published on Zeepertje.com