Haj rituals get under way

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Haj rituals get under way

More than two million pilgrims began the main rituals of the Haj , heading from the holy city of Makkah to Mina where they rest and pray for the night before moving on to Mount Arafat.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 25 Oct 2012, 10:05 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:35 PM

The pilgrims started to travel by bus, on foot or with the Mashair light railway to the arid plain of Mina where they will spend the night in tents.

Some 25,700 members of the Saudi security forces have been deployed throughout the kingdom’s holy cities.

The passage to Mina marks the official launch of the Haj on the eighth day of the month of Zul Hijjah. The day is known as Tarwiah (Watering) as pilgrims in the past stopped at Mina to feed their animals and stock up for the following day’s trip to Mount Arafat.

On Thursday, they will ascend to Mount Arafat, some 10km southeast of Mina, to spend the day in prayer.

After sunset, they head to Muzdalifah, between Mina and Arafat, where pilgrims collect stones to throw at the Satan, one of the last rituals which takes place on Friday and marks the first day of Eid Al Adha. The symbolic “stoning of the Satan” is followed by the ritual sacrifice of an animal, usually a lamb.

During the remaining three days of the Haj, the pilgrims continue the stoning of the Satan before performing the circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba in the holy city of Makkah and heading home.

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