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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - By Hassan Cheruppa
MAKKAH — Pilgrims started leaving Makkah on Sunday evening after completing this year’s exceptional Hajj pilgrimage. They had left earlier the tent city of Mina after completing the stoning ritual for Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Wida (farewell circumambulation) to mark the end of the pilgrimage.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette, several pilgrims expressed their joy and delight for getting a golden opportunity and the divine blessing to be among the limited number of the Guests of God in the smoothest ever annual pilgrimage held amid strict coronavirus pandemic protocols.
They lauded the extraordinary efforts made by the government of Saudi Arabia, headed by Custodian of the Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, especially the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and all the agencies involved in the pilgrimage for the services that helped them perform their rituals in ease and comfort. They asked God to accept their Hajj and reward all those who contributed to the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.
Pilgrims started the stoning ritual this afternoon in an orderly and peaceful way in strict compliance of the coronavirus protocols. They stoned seven pebbles first at Jamrat Al-Sugra, then at Jamrat Al-Wusta, and finally at Jamrat Al-Aqba in a ritual emulating Ibrahim’s stoning of the devil at the three spots where he is said to have appeared trying to dissuade him from obeying God’s order to sacrifice his son, Ismail.
The ritual is the renunciation of evil in all its forms and a promise never to fall prey to the machinations and intrigues of Satan, the cursed. Although the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, concludes officially on Monday, the third day of Tashreeq (Ayyam Al-Tashreeq), pilgrims are allowed to leave a day earlier. All the pilgrims of this year’s Hajj, who are the guests of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, took advantage of the concession to leave a day earlier.
A huge contingent of security forces and Civil Defense personnel as well as health workers were seen at various points at the mammoth state-of-the-art Jamarat complex, to oversee the smooth conduct of the stoning ritual. After reaching their accommodation at Mina residential towers, pilgrims packed their baggage and boarded buses that took them to Makkah to perform farewell Tawaf.
Most pilgrims will leave Makkah on Sunday while some pilgrims from remote regions of the Kingdom would stay back for some time depending on the schedule of their departure flight.
Despite forecasts of inclement weather and rain on Arafat Day, Hajj pilgrimage was not marred by bad weather.
The General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection warned of moderate to heavy rains accompanied by sandstorms in Makkah and the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah on Sunday, saying that the climatic situation would continue until 11:00 p.m.
The pilgrims were seen in a euphoric mood after completing their lifetime spiritual journey.
Somayya El-Arabawi, a Tunisian pilgrim, said she had no words to describe her feelings for getting an opportunity to perform this year’s unprecedented Hajj. “It is a great blessing that I was among a limited number of pilgrims when millions of pilgrims from all corners of the globe did not get the opportunity to carry out their lifetime journey because of the pandemic situation.”
Mazen Jamaa from Syria, Zakaria from Bosnia, and Basheerullah Muntajuddin from Bangladesh were among the pilgrims who shared their ecstatic feelings for the great blessing of God to be His guests this year and thanked the Saudi authorities for the smooth conduct of a hassle-free Hajj.
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