Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca gets underway, 2 mln expected

Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca gets underway, 2 mln expected

Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca gets underway, 2 mln expected

Although Saudi Arabia relaxed entry restrictions across its land border with the emirate two weeks before the haj, Qatar said only a few dozen of its nationals were able to join the pilgrimage.

Given the huge number of followers in the area during the short period, Saudi authorities have for decades used a quota system to avoid over-congestion by only allowing a certain number of pilgrims into the city based on the number of Muslims in a country.

Mekkah- Saudi officials confirmed the completion of all security plans to serve about 2 million pilgrims arrived to Saudi Arabia for this year's Hajj, reiterating that the kingdom respects all Muslims and sees the needs of every pilgrim regardless of the sect.

The King had in fact ordered that private jets belonging to Saudi airlines be sent to Doha airport "to bring all Qatari pilgrims on his expenses".

The Prophet Muhammed made the first Islamic pilgrimage in the year 628 AD, when he set out to Mecca with 1,400 of his followers.

While Muslims from all over the world are flying to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage, a group of men have biked there to raise funds for Syria. Muslims also flock to the country for the umra pilgrimage, which can be performed at any time of the year.

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Performing the Hajj is one of the "Five Pillars", or key practices, of Islam.

In 1990, 1426 pilgrims died in a stampede inside a tunnel after its ventilation system broke down. He explained that tens of thousands of cameras recording the rituals will help control the crowds.

Meanwhile, it is also learned the Nigerian first lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, too has left for Mecca from Nigeria to perform this year's Hajj.

The seven, nearly all wearing the black niqab over their faces, form the first women's section of an emergency call centre in the kingdom, which has begun offering more education and employment opportunities to the half of the population that has traditionally stayed at home.

They will also slaughter their sacrificial animals and proceed to the Grand Mosque to do tawaf Al-Ifadah, which culminates the rites. It's the most sacred shrine of Islam. Mina is located between Mount Arafat and Makkah's Grand Mosque. "In the past, many pilgrims took part in this ritual under the scorching afternoon sun", it added.

For pilgrims and Saudi civil servants alike, the end of Hajj is the time to return to family and celebrate the remainder of Eid al-Adha.

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