Pilgrims ascend to Mina at the start of the Haj rituals

Source: saudigazette | Published on 30th August 2017, 5:40 PM | Gulf News |

MAKKAH : Chanting Labaik Allahuma Labiak (to Thee we come), pilgrims, in their white robes, started leaving Makkah early today (Wednesday) for Mina which is about five km away.

The pilgrims will spend the day in Mina before proceeding early Thursday to Arafat, which is the Haj climax, after which there will be no pilgrimage though the rites will continue for three more days.

The pilgrims will stay the whole day in Arafat and will remain there until sunset after which they will go to Muzdalifah to pray Maghreb and Isha together, stay the night and leave early Friday for Mina to throw pebbles at the Satan, slaughter their sacrificial animals, relieve themselves of their Ihrams and go to the Grand Mosque in Makkah for Tawaf Al-Ifadah.

According to the General Authority of Statistics (GAS), 1,891,352 pilgrims have entered Makkah until midnight on Tuesday. GAS said the domestic pilgrims were 138,695 consisting of 81,284 Saudi men and women and 57,411 non-Saudis.

It said as many as 20,044 buses and cars have transported the pilgrims by land to Makkah from in and outside the Kingdom.

There are two interpretations for calling the first day in Mina as Youm Al-Tarwiyah (watering). Some people believe that it was given this name because pilgrims in the past used to drink a lot of water and carry quantities of it to Arafat, which was a dry area.

Others said the name came from the dream Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had seen slaughtering his son Ismael before Allah sacrificed him which a sheep from heaven. Tarwiyah here means he was thinking deeply about this matter, which was a source of worry for him.

No matter which explanation is true, the pilgrims stay the 8th of Dhul Hijja in Mina and the ninth in Arafat before they come back to Mina through Muzdalifah to stay for two or three days.

Over 100,000 security men were participating in the execution of the major Haj plan and their primary mission is to protect the safety and well being of the pilgrims, according to the spokesman of the Interior Ministry Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki.

"Our main mission is ensuring the safety and security of every pilgrim who arrives in the Kingdom to perform the Haj," he said.

Commander of the Civil Defense forces in Mina, Brig. Hamoud Al-Faraj said they started working early to ensure that the fire-resistance tents were supplied with all the safety equipment including mechanical and manual fire extinguishers. "We are ready to deal with any emergency situation during the Haj in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites," he said.

The Ministry of Health has prepared as many as 25 hospitals and 155 health centers in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites to provide preventive and curative treatment to the pilgrims. A ministry's spokesman said about 21 pilgrims who were confined in hospitals in Madinah were transported to Makkah to complete their Haj rites.

The spokesman said the ministry has also provided more than 100 ambulance cars, which operate as mobile hospitals.

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