Makkah, 26 June, 2023 (GNP): The Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, has begun on Sunday as more than two million Muslims from across the world walked solemn circles around the Holy Ka’aba to begin the largest Hajj in many years.
The holy city of Makkah is likely to welcome hundreds of thousands of worshippers from 160 countries during Hajj which could surpass the previous records, with 1.6 million foreign pilgrims already arriving by late Friday.
On condition of anonymity, an official with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah predicted, “This year, we will witness the largest Hajj in history,” if things go according to plan. “The numbers will exceed 2.5 million pilgrims,” he added.
The Hajj began early on Sunday with the tawaf — a walk around the Holy Kaaba, the large cubic structure wrapped in black cloth with gold ornamentation that Muslims from across the globe pray towards every day.
A series of Hajj rituals are completed over four days in Makkah and its surroundings in the West of Saudi Arabia.
However, pilgrims started moving to Mina, about three miles far from the Grand Mosque on Sunday afternoon. The final call of Hajj will be at Mount Arafat, where the Holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW) delivered his last sermon.
The Hajj has just commenced in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. More than a million pilgrims will proceed to the Tent City of Mina today, where they will engage in reflection and prayer. May Allah Almighty make it easy for them and accept their worship. Aameen#Hajj1444 #Mina #Hajj2023 pic.twitter.com/KbIzGRjxSs
— Mufti Menk (@muftimenk) June 25, 2023
Mina is the world’s largest tent city, prepared to host the inflow of pilgrims, with food supplies brought in and security forces deployed around the area.
Furthermore, many more pilgrims are ready to head toward Mina on Monday.
Outside the Grand Mosque, thousands prayed on green carpets that made the surface of the area beautiful, with male pilgrims draping white robes. The facility of ambulances, mobile clinics, and fire trucks were all over the place.
The Hajj holds considerable security challenges and has witnessed numerous disasters over the years, including a 2015 stampede that killed up to 2,300 people. Since then, no major incidents have happened during Hajj.