2.5 Million Pilgrims Gather At Mount Arafat
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jeddah, Nov 4: More than 2.5 million Muslims have arrived in the holy city of Makkah for Hajj, world’s largest annual human assembly, which peaks on Saturday as pilgrims gather in the plains of Mount Arafat.
According to reports, 1.25 lakh Indians have arrived in Saudi Arabia as on Thursday, to attend the Hajj pilgrimage. The Hajj will end on Sunday with Eid Al Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.
The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those who are able to make the journey, and it is a dream that can take years to come true.
The worlds largest annual gathering, the Hajj pilgrimage will reach its pinnacle on Saturday – Day of Arafat - as Muslim followers from across the world, dressed in white robes, gather in the plain of Mount Arafat, outside Makkah.
Pilgrims flooded the streets of Makkah Friday as they headed towards Mina, around five kilometres east of the holy mosque.
Many pilgrims took buses, while others set off on foot for a village that comes to life for just five days a year.
Others were using the Mashair Railway, also known as Makkah Metro, to go to Mount Arafat and its surrounding plains. The Chinese-built railway will operate for the first time this year at its full capacity of 72,000 people per hour to ease congestions and prevent stampedes.The dual-track light railway connects the three holy sites of Mina, Muzdalifah and Mount Arafat - areas that see massive congestion during the five-day pilgrimage.
“It will replace 30,000 cars previously used,” said project director Fahd Abu-Tarbush.
“The train this year is restricted to the pilgrims coming from inside Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, as well as 200,000 pilgrims coming from South Asia,” Tarbush added.
“Mashair Railway will transport 500,000 pilgrims from Mina, passing by Muzdalifah, reaching to Arafat, in addition to one million pilgrims on the Tashreeq days,” which are on the 11th, 12th and 13th of the Muslim month of Dhulhajj.
Saudi Arabia also launched a new $10.6-billion project for a new extension to Makka’s Grand Mosque to increase its capacity to two million worshippers.
This year alone an estimated 2.5 million are gathered in Makkah, with 1.8 million from abroad and 700,000-800,000 from within KSA.
Although every Muslim country in the world has a Hajj quota of 1,000 pilgrims per million inhabitants, the biggest group, 200,000 pilgrims, originates from Indonesia.
“So far 435 flights have come from India,” Consulate General of India said. “As of today 75 pilgrims have expired out of which 63 came through Hajj committee and 12 through private tour operators,” he said.
Meanwhile, prominent Islamic scholars including Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh have asked pilgrims to avoid performing all the compulsory prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in order to reduce overcrowding at the mosque.
“The whole Makkah is considered sacred place and the prayer at any Makkah mosque is equal in reward to praying at the Haram (Grand Mosque),” the scholars were quoted as saying by Arab News.
“The reward for prayer at all mosques inside the Haram area is greater than the prayers outside the Haram.”
The day is known as Tarwiah (Watering) Day, as pilgrims traditionally watered their sacrificial animals and stocked water for their trip to Mount Arafat, some 10 kilometres further on, where Prophet Muhammed (SAW) delivered his final Hajj sermon.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up preparation to avoid deadly stampedes that have marred the Hajj in the past, in which hundreds of pilgrims lost their lives.
In January 2006, 364 pilgrims were killed in a stampede at the entrance to a bridge leading to the stoning site in Mina, outside Makkah, while 251 were trampled to death in 2004.
A 63,000 strong security and 3,500 anti-riot police contingent in 450 armoured vehicles will be deployed in and around Makkah.
22,000 local civil defence personal in 6000 vehicles will man the streets. 1,500 CCTV’s will monitor each and every movement. Almost 20,000 health workers have been rallied to handle any emergency and five rescue helicopters will be on stand-by to serve the faithful.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
- Supreme Court asks Centre to clear stand
- UHQ meeting on November 9
- Army’s objection unjustified: Mirwaiz
- Revocation through consensus: Prof Soz
- Only Army Chief’s view matters: Kamaal
- HAJJ TODAY
- Snowfall in upper reaches, rains make Valley shiver
- Petrol to sell at Rs 73.34 per litre in Valley
- PM welcomes Pak decision
- Full working day for JK Bank today
SEEKS IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF NEW JOB POLICY
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Nov 4: Asserting that situation has improved considerably for ‘gradual’ revocation of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from the state, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday said More
- Srinagar City
As Rush Of Eid Shoppers Swells To Lakhs, Mere 250 Men-In-Blue Man Entire Traffic
Srinagar, Nov 4: Yet again at a time of festive shopping, the National Conference led government allegedly failed to administer the rush of shoppers to City centre. Even though the Traffic police had kept More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jammu, Nov 4: A body of Kashmiri Pandits today claimed that there were large number of fake migrant relief category ration cards which needed to be identified. "Crores of rupees go waste because of More
- South Asia