#HajwithKT: Over 2 million housed in Mina tents as pilgrimage begins

Day of Arafat, Arafat, Haj, Saudi, Makkah, UAE, Muslim, Mount Arafat, Prophet Muhammad, Eid Al Adha

Two million pilgrims will head to the tent city of Mina today.

By Sahim Salim (Reporting from Makkah)

Published: Fri 9 Aug 2019, 10:45 AM

Last updated: Fri 9 Aug 2019, 12:53 PM

Today, I join over 2 million Muslims in entering the state of Ihram (prohibition) as our  Haj begins in the tent city of Mina. With the men draped in two pieces of unstitched white robes and women dressed in loose modest clothes, all class and race divides of appearance are erased, and prejudices of the mind neutralised.
I am not richer or poorer than any of my fellow Hajis, for our bags contain just an extra set of Ihram clothes (the two pieces of white robes), a toothbrush, a toothpaste, some medicines, a pair of slippers and a towel.

My dwellings are not swankier, for all 2 million of us are housed in standard-issue tents. In the tent allocated for our group of 125 pilgrims, 125 mattresses are laid out on the floor and there is not an inch of extra space for anything else. The living space for each pilgrim is slightly more than 5 X 2 feet. If I stretch my six-foot body, my legs will rest on the chest of the unfortunate pilgrim sleeping below me!
I don't smell better or worse, for in the state of Ihram, scented products are banned for us. I am not handsome or ugly, for I can't cut, shave or trim my hair. I am discouraged from combing my hair or using any kind of cosmetics.
Every single one of us will follow the exact same set of rituals that has been performed by billions of others over 14 centuries back to when the Prophet Muhammad first taught them to us. Today, I am any one of the millions of pilgrims out there and they are all me.  sahim@khaleejtimes.com
What happens today

> The Haj pilgrims will enter the state of Ihram, with men dressed in two white unstitched clothes and women in loose modest clothes, marking the start of Haj.
> All 2 million pilgrims will head to the tent city of Mina.
> They will be housed in tents, with mere inches to call home.
> They will spend the whole day praying and meditating.
> They will spend at least the next five nights here.

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