Two Million Muslims Start Hajj Pilgrimage in Makkah

Jerome Frank
August 31, 2017

"Thanks to God we have extra supplies plus special equipment and vehicles to deal with catastrophes directly and move them to the closest hospital", Qassim told Reuters on Sunday.

"We feel more religious when we leave this place", she said.

About 180,000 Pakistanis alongwith two million Muslims from across the world have converged on Makkah and started the rituals of Hajj on Wednesday. The spokesman also said that their forces returned 208,236 buses carrying illegal pilgrims.

Hajj is the most important ritual among Muslims in the world, as nearly all Muslims should perform it at least once in a lifetime, if they have the means to do so.

Indonesian pilgrim Mariah Marghani Muhammad, 104, reportedly one of the oldest pilgrims performing Hajj this year, being welcomed at Jeddah airport.

It was the worst catastrophe in the history of the hajj, with 464 people from the Islamic republic among the dead.

"I still have to finish the tawaf!" said a breathless Nour, 30, from Saudi Arabia as she rushed past without stopping. Diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed for four years as a effect.

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A security perimeter has been established around Mecca and its surroundings for the event.

Pilgrims then walk or run between the mountains of Safa and Marwah seven times, which represents when Ibrahim's wife Hagar did the same when searching for water.

Iran alone reported 464 deaths and subsequently accused the Saudi authorities of being "at fault" for them - a charge Saudi officials rejected.

A boycott imposed on the small but gas-rich emirate since June 5 has resulted in Qatar's land, sea and air links being badly affected.

The disease, which has already infected 332,000 people in Yemen, raises the risk of infection at the gathering in Mecca, where pilgrims are already wary of diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and Zika virus.

But a number of Qataris are this year allowed to perform Hajj due to the ongoing dispute with Saudi Arabia.

- Thousands of security cameras have been set up along the pilgrimage route, according to a civil defence spokesman. As many as three million prospective pilgrims perform a series of rituals over the course of five or six days.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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