[The pilgrimage to Makkah represents one of the five pillars of Islam and is required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life. (AFP Photo)]
Makkah/Mina: Dressed in white robes and chanting "Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik", over 02 million pilgrims from more than 150 countries have started moving from Makkah to Mina as the Hajj 1439H (corresponding to 2018 AD) entered its final phase with Youme Arafah scheduled for Monday.
Local media reports that despite intense heat and soaring temperature, momentum has built up and Haj pilgrims cutting across race have all started early in the morning on Sunday moving towards Mina - the tent city. After the overnight stay in Mina, the pilgrims will set for the Plains of Arafat on Monday just after dawn. Standing on the Plains of Arafat is the key and final ritual of Hajj.
Some of the pilgrims occupied their tents in Mina on Saturday evening itself. Some rode buses, some boarded trains whereas a large number of pilgrims chose to walk as per the tradition of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).
Over the next few days the pilgrims will retrace the steps of the Prophet Muhammad 14 centuries ago. As part pf this journey, the pilgrims will return from Arafat to Muzdalefa after sun set on Monday. Next day i.e. on Tuesday August 21, 2018, when millions of Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid al Adha, Haj pilgrims will perform the stoning of the devil ritual and then sacrifice animals in the memory of Prophet Ibrahim, his noble wife Hager and their son Prophet Ismael (may peace be upon them all).
The pilgrims have flown in from almost every country in the world, but all had a similar story to tell — this is the experience of a lifetime.
“This is the first time I have seen the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba. It is the best feeling of my life to be able to perform the Hajj,” 50-year-old Hisham Mostafa, an accountant from Aleppo who fled the war in Syria five years ago and now lives in Turkey, told Arab News.
Nayef Ahmed, 37, from Yemen, sold a plot of land to be able to afford to travel to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. “Because of the war the cost was very high. But being here I feel comfort and peace and I pray to God for the war to end,” he said.
Najwa, 59, from Tunisia, said: “I came for Umrah in 2007 and today after 10 years of registering and waiting, I am here. I cannot describe the feeling. I cry every day.”
For all the latest News, Opinions and Views, download ummid.com App
Select Langauge To Read in Urdu, Hindi, Marathi or Arabic