Times of Oman
Price in RO
24ct / gm
22ct / gm
Forex Rates vs R01
Back to Homepage
Muslim pilgrims throng Mount Arafat for Hajj climax
October 14, 2013 , 12 : 31 pm GST
SAVE THIS ARTICLE
Muslim piligrims gather on Mount Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca on October 13, 2013 one day ahead of the hajj main ritual. Photo - AFP
Pilgrims in their hundreds of thousands thronged Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia from early on Monday for the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, arriving on foot, by train or in vehicles.
Officials said they expected around 1.5 million pilgrims to descend on the site, where later in the day they will perform prayers and listen to the annual sermon from Saudi top cleric Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh.
Helicopters hovered overhead and thousands of troops stood guard to organise roads flooded by men, women and children streaming towards Mount Arafat.
The numbers are sharply down from last year, due to fears linked to the MERS virus and to expansion work.
Governor of Makkah province and head of the central Hajj committee Prince Khaled Al Faisal said 1.38 million pilgrims had arrived from outside of the kingdom while only
117,000 Hajj permits were issued for domestic pilgrims.
This puts the number of pilgrims this year at almost 1.5 million, less than half of last year's 3.2 million after Riyadh slashed Hajj quotas for foreign and domestic pilgrims because of massive construction works at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and fears linked to the MERS virus.
Prince Khaled told the official SPA news agency late on Sunday that authorities have turned back 70,000 nationals and expatriates for not carrying legal permits and have arrested 38,000 others for performing the Hajj without a permit.
Authorities have also seized as many as 138,000 vehicles for violating the Hajj rules and its owners will be penalised, the prince said.
Saudi health authorities reiterated on Sunday that no cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus had been detected. The disease has killed 60 people worldwide, 51 of them in Saudi Arabia itself.
The pilgrims were arriving on Monday from nearby Mina where most of them spent the night following the traditions of Islam's Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who performed the rituals 14 centuries ago.
They had moved to Mina on Sunday from the holy city of Makkah, home to the Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest place of worship which houses the cube-shaped Kaaba structure towards which all Muslims pray daily five times.
They will crowd onto the hill and the vast plain surrounding it praying until sunset when they then set off for nearby Muzdalifah.
There they will then spend the night before moving on in the morning to start the ritual of symbolically stoning the devil.
The Hajj, which officially ends on Friday, is one of the five pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must perform at least once.
Rate this Article
Rates : 0, Average : 0
Post a Comment
Did you like this section? Leave a comment!
Your Name :
Your Email Address :
Your Comment :
Enter ImageText here:
No Comments Posted
Latest in this section
Ex-guerrilla leader Sanchez Ceren ahead in El Salvador run-off vote
Tens of thousands stage anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo
Police to make parents, wards aware of social media’s hazards
Indian-origin student wins spelling bee after epic 95 rounds
Libya authorises use of force against North Korean-flagged tanker
TOP RATED ARTICLES
Movie Review: Gulaab Gang
Siddharth Akhouri - Special to Times of Oman
Pakistan Navy Ship sets sail for Oman
50,000 Iranian tourists to visit Oman in 2014
Women climb up Petroleum Development Oman ladder, take positions once held only by men
Indian police drop sedition charge against cricket fans
More in News
Urban gardens greening Berlin rooftops, airfield
Italian violinist strikes a chord with street children
Tips for writing a good article
How to choose your writing form and communicate your creative thoughts
Natasja Engholm - Special to Times of Oman
Indonesia's illegal dentists bite back after ban
More in Features
Europe and US have legitimised neo-Nazis
Turkey should avoid being in Shanghai Five
The ever-shifting borders in the Middle East
Armed neo-Nazis have taken over Ukraine
Paul Craig Roberts
France is in sight of the violence in CAR
More in Columns
Get Top news by E-mail.
Copyright © 2014 Muscat Press & Publishing House SAOC. All rights reserved. Times of Oman is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
For reprint rights contact:
TOO Online Editorial