Hajj to the holy places for all Muslims of Mecca and Medina began in Saudi Arabia. This year, after a two-year break due to the pandemic, foreign pilgrims will be allowed into the country. According to local authorities, about a million people will perform the hajj, including more than 11,000 Russians.
“Ships of the Desert” lead to beauty treatments. The camels are scheduled to have their haircut today. These hairdressers in the markets in Pakistani Karachi are undergoing pre-sale preparation. Camel painting is a marketing ploy.“I have been decorating camels all my life. This is an ancient custom. So it can be sold for more. The animal should be beautiful as a work of art,” said camel seller Syed Ali Aassan Shah.
True, trimmed animals will not please their new owner for long. These camels will be sacrificed in a few days on Eid al-Adha after the end of the Hajj, which began today in Saudi Arabia.
And so in Saudi Arabia they meet every plane with pilgrims. Guests are presented with flowers, dates, and bottles of zam-zam water from a well in Mecca. For two years, foreigners were not allowed to go on the Hajj due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, the doors of Mecca and Medina were opened for Muslims from other countries, however, with restrictions – pilgrims must not be over 65 years old and everyone must be vaccinated, and also have a negative PCR test with them.
“Very happy to be here. I was lucky to be among those hundreds of thousands of believers who were allowed to visit holy places. I am grateful to Allah for this,” said Ali Aley, a pilgrim from the United States.
“The joy is indescribable, it is happiness for all of us. I’ve wanted to be here all my life. And he almost fulfilled the holy duty of every true Muslim,” said a pilgrim from Egypt, Abdo Ibrahim.
In total, the local authorities gave permission to visit the holy places for every Muslim almost a million believers. The Russians were given a quota of 11,000 people. The security measures are unprecedented, for the duration of the Hajj, the police and army are on full alert. Particular attention will be paid to protection against cyber threats.
“We have been preparing for this event for a long time. In this unit, everyone has received special training. We are ready to provide normal security,” said police officer Nasser al-Ghamdi.
Pilgrims will pray in the Mina Valley today and all the coming night. And tomorrow they have a great standing on Mount Arafat. The hajd will last for several days, culminating in the ritual of stoning the devil. Each of the pilgrims must throw seven stones at the Jamarat. The pilgrimage to the holy places will end with a counterclockwise ritual detour around the Kaaba, located in the courtyard of the Forbidden Mosque in Mecca.