Guidance heroes of Hajj help pilgrims find their way

MINA: More than 850,000 pilgrims performed Tawaf Al-Ifadah in Mecca on Sunday evening, the ritual marking the final days of the Hajj and the beginning of Eid Al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world.

The long day began with masses of pilgrims embarking on a symbolic stoning of the devil at Muzdalifah in the scorching summer heat. Stoning is one of the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

It came a day after more than 1.8 million pilgrims gathered on a sacred hill, known as Mount Arafat, outside the holy city of Mecca, which Muslim pilgrims visit to perform the annual five-day rituals of the Hajj . Tawaf Al Ifadah is performed by Hajj pilgrims after returning from Mina.

In a press conference on Sunday evening, Colonel Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry, said that all pilgrims returned safely to their tents in Mina after departing from Muzdalifah.

He stressed that the security forces are continuing their operations to ensure the safety and security of the Guests of Allah during their stay in Mina, including their rituals at the Jamarat Bridge and inside the Grand Mosque. “These services include crowd control and management on all routes connecting their accommodations in tents, on the bridge and in the Grand Mosque, as well as during their tawaf. I urge all guests to strictly adhere to the instructions governing their performances rituals,” he said.

Pilgrims throw stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, one of the last rites of the Hajj, at the Jamarat in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, on June 16, 2024. (SPA)

The spokesperson also advised pilgrims not to carry personal belongings with them when heading to the Jamarat Bridge or the Holy Mosque.

“Furthermore, I urge those planning to leave Mina on the second day of Tashreeq to follow the specified guidelines,” he added.

The days of Tashreeq are the three days following the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, Eid al-Adha, and are known for the ritual stoning of the three pillars at Mina, which symbolizes the rejection of temptation and evil.

However, pilgrims are permitted to leave Mecca before sunset on the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah. Al-Shalhoub also reported that the emergency center in the Mecca region received a total of 78,872 calls on the 10th of Thul Hijjah, regarding security reports. and service requests, all promptly resolved.

He highlighted the Saudi leadership’s close monitoring of all security sectors, noting continuous improvements in their performance each year. “Our security personnel serve as exemplary models in discharging their duties and facilitating the Hajj journey for pilgrims,” she concluded.

For his part, Ayedh Al-Ghuwainem, Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs, said that the organizational plans and efforts were implemented in harmony with all agencies participating in the Hajj.

“The stoning process took place safely and peacefully in just ten hours, achieving a 95% compliance rate with instructions,” he said.

He further added that the plans have been designed to accommodate the diverse jurisprudential preferences of the pilgrims using modern technology and pre-arranged timings for the grouping of pilgrims. Al-Ghuwainem stated that more than 800,000 pilgrims had arrived in Mina before dawn on Sunday, and by 8 am, all pilgrims had reached Mina.

According to the deputy minister, upon their arrival at the Jamarat Bridge, around 70% of the pilgrims used the first and fourth floors, while the rest crossed the second and third floors.

“Furthermore, more than 850,000 worshipers have so far performed Ifadah tawaf since midnight using shuttle bus services to and from the Grand Mosque,” ​​he said.

The deputy minister added that the challenge they faced together with the authorities concerned was that most pilgrims preferred to go on foot, despite all the awareness campaigns and the availability of all means of transport. He also urged the pilgrims to follow the instructions.

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