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इंडियन आवाज़     20 Oct 2021 12:19:13      انڈین آواز

Annual Haj pilgrimage begins in Saudi Arabia

Pilgrims are spending the first day of Hajj worshipping and resting in Mina

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WEB DESK

The annual five-day Haj pilgrimage began on Sunday in Saudi Arabia on a drastically reduced scale due to Coronavirus pandemic globally. Saudi authorities have restricted annual pilgrimage to 60 thousands local residents between the age of 18 and 65. Only those people are allowed to take part in pilgrimage who have been vaccinated.

The pilgrims are now converging at Mina who began their journey from holy city of Mecca. They will spend the night there and move towards plains of Arafat at dawn tomorrow for the day’s main ritual of Haj-reciting prayers.

Pilgrims are spending the first day of Hajj worshipping and resting in Mina.

They will spend their time reciting the Qur’an, remembering God and praying in the narrow valley that is situated east of Makkah and is surrounded by rocky mountains.

Every year, the area is transformed into a vast encampment for pilgrims made up of smaller tents.

Pilgrims will pray Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha in Mina on Sunday, in addition to the Fajr prayer on Monday morning. They will then leave Mina for Arafat where they will spend the day worshipping God and praying for their needs.

The day of Arafat is considered the pinnacle of the Hajj and Muslims all around the world consider it a blessed day during which sins are forgiven and prayers are answered.

Muslims who are not performing Hajj will often fast on the day of Arafat following the tradition of the Prophet.

Earlier, pilgrims performed tawaf at the Grand Mosque in Makkah where they followed markings on the floor to ensure social distancing.

Strict precautionary measures are being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus and only 60,000 pilgrims from within Saudi Arabia were selected to perform Hajj this year.

Thermal cameras have been placed at entrances of the Grand Mosque to monitor the temperature of pilgrims and the mosque is sterilised at regular intervals.

Civil Defence teams are also on stand-by to ensure the safety and protection of pilgrims at all times.

Saudi authorities have put in place strict health norms to prevent spread of coronavirus during Haj pilgrimage. Around 2.5 million pilgrims including record two lakh pilgrims from India performed Haj in 2019 before the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.

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