Saudi Arabia Welcomes 1 Million Pilgrims
For Hajj Since a Pandemic
(Source By pixabay)
In preparation for the largest hajj trip since the
coronavirus pandemic began,
white-robed believers from around the world
have thronged the streets of Mecca.
In the ancient city of Medina, the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed,
armed security officers patrolled the squares and alleys
with banners welcoming the faithful,
including the first international tourists since 2019.
Abdel Qader Kheder a Sudanese pilgrim told AFP that the festival,
which begins on Wednesday,
was “pure joy.” “I can’t believe I’ve made it this far.
I’m savoring each and every second.”
After being severely restricted for the previous two years due to the pandemic,
this year’s hajj will allow one million pilgrims,
including 850,000 from outside the country.
Every Muslim who has the ability and finances is expected to
do the Hajj at least once in their lifetime.
Saudi Arabia’s authorities stated on Sunday that at least 650,000
foreign pilgrims have come thus far.
On Monday, authorities imposed a security perimeter around Mecca,
preventing roughly 100,000 worshippers from entering.
There were 288 persons arrested and punished for
trying to complete the hajj without permission,
according to a security official.
An estimated 2.5 million people participated in the
yearly observances in 2019,
which include pilgrimages to Mount Arafat and
“stoning the devil” in the Mina neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
When the pandemic hit the next year, only 10,000 pilgrims
were allowed to perform the hajj to prevent it from
becoming a global super-spreader.
In 2021, the total number of Saudi citizens and residents who
had been fully immunized grew to 60,000.
Only pilgrims under the age of 65 are permitted to take part
this year due to rigorous hygienic regulations.
There have been countless tragedies during the hajj,
including a 2015 stampede that killed up to 2,300 people and 1979
attack by hundreds of shooters that killed 153 people, according to official figures.1 Million Pilgrims
– Women who are alone –
At midday, Monday, pilgrims in Mecca made their
the way from the Grand Mosque
to gift shops and barber shops to
shield themselves from the sweltering heat.
A massive black cubic structure at the heart of
the Grand Mosque the Kaaba was already being walked
around seven times by fresh visitors.
With a height of nearly 15 meters (50 feet),
the Kaaba is made of granite and covered in a
fabric embroidered with lines from the Koran.
Muslims around the world pray to this edifice,
no matter where they are.
Mohammed Lotfi an Egyptian visitor said he
started crying when he first saw the Kaaba.
For the conservative desert monarchy,
the pilgrimage is a tremendous source of prestige,
particularly for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,
who has returned from the diplomatic wilderness?
After the Hajj, Prince Mohammed will greet US President Joe Biden,
who has reneged on a promise to turn Saudi Arabia into a “pariah” after the
2018 murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives.
Oil prices have risen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
To help diversify its economy,
the world’s largest oil exporter is relying heavily on the hajj,
which costs an average of $5,000 per person.
The annual pilgrimage pulls in billions of dollars when conditions are normal.
Even while human rights violations and restrictions on
individual liberties have long been cited as a concern,
this is an opportunity to highlight the kingdom’s rapid social transition nonetheless.
Since last year, Saudi Arabia no longer requires women to be accompanied by a male relative on the hajj.
However, Saudi Arabia Grand Mosque,
Islam’s most sacred place of worship will
require all visitors to wear face masks.
Pilgrims from other countries must provide proof of a negative PCR test.
Every day, more than 4,000 male and female employees
will wash the Grand Mosque,
which will be disinfected with more than
130,000 liters (34,000 gallons)
each day authorities added.
More than 795,000 instances of coronavirus have been
reported in Saudi Arabia
since the outbreak began,
with 9,000 of them fatal,
in a population of around 34 million.
Other than the sweltering heat of the world’s driest
and hottest region,
Saudi Arabia has already reached temperatures
of 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
The heat, on the other hand, is the last thing on
the mind of Iraqi pilgrims
Ahmed Abdul-Hassan al-Fatlawi
when he arrives in Mecca.
It’s normal for me to get physically exhausted in the
hot weather because I’m 60,
but I’m at peace, and that’s all that matters to me,”
he told Agence France-Presse.
1 Million Pilgrims