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Hajj 2024 Starts Today With Record Pilgrim Arrivals In Saudi Arabia

Hajj 2024 Starts Today With Record Pilgrim Arrivals In Saudi Arabia

Millions of Muslims are arriving in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj 2024 pilgrimage, where pilgrims face new safety measures and extreme weather, while authorities have tightened security and made other arrangements.

The pilgrimage to the Kaaba begins today, Friday, with over 1.5 million pilgrims already in the holy city in preparation for Hajj 2024. The number of pilgrims is expected to increase significantly as hundreds of thousands of Saudis and other residents of the Kingdom join the pilgrimage after its official start.

Read more: Imran Riaz Khan Arrested at Lahore Airport Pre-Hajj 2024

Upon arrival, Hajj pilgrims have been performing Tawaf, the circumambulation of the Kaaba, amidst large crowds. This will continue into Friday, the first day of Hajj, when pilgrims move to Mina, a desert plain outside the city.

Afterward, pilgrims will spend a day of worship on the Mountain of Arafat, followed by a transition to Muzdalifah, a rocky plain, where they will gather pebbles for the symbolic stoning of pillars representing evil upon their return to Mina.

Hajj attracts millions every year, being one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, and is revered as one of Islam’s five pillars. The religious duty holds great importance for Muslims who are financially and physically capable of undertaking Hajj at least once in their lifetime.

For participants, Hajj is not only a demonstration of religious duty but also an opportunity for spiritual renewal, the cleansing of past sins, and the beginning of a new life with a clean heart and soul.

The pilgrimage involves a series of prescribed acts and rituals that symbolize various aspects of faith, devotion, and unity. Here are the key rituals:

Wearing Ihram: Pilgrims wear ihram, a state of spiritual purity, upon crossing Mecca’s boundary, Miqat. Men wear two unstitched cloths; women wear loose-fitting clothing.

Travel to Mina (Tent City): Pilgrims journey 8 km from Mecca to Mina, either on foot or by transport. They spend the day in prayer and remembrance of Allah and stay overnight.

Day at Arafat: Pilgrims travel 14.4 km from Mina to Arafat, where they spend the day in prayer. Mount Mercy is significant for the Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon.

Collect Pebbles at Muzdalifah: After sunset, pilgrims travel 9 km to Muzdalifah, where they spend the night under the stars and gather pebbles for the next day’s ritual.

Stone the Pillars in Mina: Known as yawm-ul hajj al-akbar (The Big Hajj Day) and coincides with Eid al-Adha. Pilgrims perform the first rami, throwing seven pebbles at the largest pillar (Jamarat).

Qurbani: Pilgrims perform a sacrifice (sheep, goat, cow, or camel), trim or shave their hair, and remove ihram clothes. They then perform tawaf and sa’ee (walk between Safa and Marwa).

Final Days in Mina: Pilgrims continue stoning the devil by throwing seven pebbles at each of the three pillars daily. They spend two or three days in Mina before returning to Mecca for the farewell tawaf.