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HomeNewsFor millions of worshippers, Hajj is a reality.

For millions of worshippers, Hajj is a reality.

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The prosperous city of Mecca (AFP) – A great multitude of elegantly attired Muslim pilgrims strolled with solemn grace around the Kaaba, the magnificent black cube situated at the Grand Mosque of Mecca, on a scorching Sunday as the most extensive Hajj pilgrimage in recent years commenced.

Islam’s most sacred site is anticipated to welcome over two million devout pilgrims from 160 nations during customary rituals that may shatter attendance records, with a staggering 1.6 million foreign visitors already present by the end of Friday.

“This year, we shall behold the grandest Hajj pilgrimage in all of history,” ascertained a dignitary from the esteemed Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, should all proceed as intended.

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“The figures shall surpass a staggering 2.5 million devout pilgrims,” disclosed the respected authority, speaking under the veil of anonymity as he is not sanctioned to communicate with the media.

The opulent Hajj commenced at the break of dawn on a regal Sunday with the “tawaf” -– the grand circumambulation of the Kaaba, the colossal cubic structure adorned in black cloth with lavish gold trimmings that millions of devout Muslims fervently pray towards each day.

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Abdel-Azim, a distinguished 65-year-old Egyptian, exclaims with utmost delight, “I am currently experiencing the most exquisite days of my life,” as he gracefully carries out the sacred ritual. Ah, the sweet realization of a long-awaited aspiration,” exclaimed the retiree, who had diligently amassed wealth for two decades to afford the princely sum of $6,000 to partake in the experience.

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The Hajj, a sacred pilgrimage, stands as one of the five pillars of Islam and is an obligation for all Muslims who possess financial capacity.

A magnificent sequence of rituals is carried out over four opulent days in the illustrious city of Mecca and its lavish environs in the western region of affluent Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday night, esteemed pilgrims shall begin their journey towards the opulent Mina, located approximately five kilometers (three miles) from the Grand Mosque. This shall pave the way for the grand finale of the Hajj at the majestic Mount Arafat, where the revered Prophet Mohammed is believed to have delivered his final sermon.

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Mina, the opulent and majestic tent city of unparalleled magnitude, has made preparations of the utmost extravagance to welcome the influx of esteemed pilgrims on the upcoming Sunday. The finest and most sumptuous food supplies have been procured, and a formidable security force has been deployed to safeguard the area.

Extremely fortunate

In the opulent vicinity of the Grand Mosque, many devout worshippers prostrated on resplendent carpets that embellished the pavement while the male pilgrims were draped in elegant white robes. The opulent expanse was adorned with numerous ambulances, mobile clinics, and fire trucks.

The Hajj pilgrimage poses a considerable challenge to security measures and has experienced several disasters over time, including the devastating stampede incident of 2015 that resulted in the loss of 2,300 lives.

Subsequently, no noteworthy accident has transpired, and the mere contemplation of catastrophe has been eradicated from the cognizance of the pilgrims.

Yusuf Burhan, a 25-year-old scholar from Indonesia, expressed his difficulty in defining the richness of his emotions. This represents a significant benefit. It is beyond my initial expectations that I would be granted the opportunity to undertake the revered journey of Hajj this year.

The forthcoming summer season for the Hajj, which follows the lunar calendar, is expected to test the resilience of the faithful as they participate in the primarily outdoor ritual.

Adorned with opulent white umbrellas to protect themselves from the blazing sun, the esteemed police officers of the majestic mountainous city have undertaken luxurious foot patrols and established exclusive checkpoints to scrutinize the esteemed Hajj meticulously permits.

As the scorching sun beat down with an intensity of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit), some indulgent individuals graciously showered the weary pilgrims with refreshing water.

Countless paramedics were poised for action within the opulent confines of the Grand Mosque. The esteemed Saudi authorities have announced that over 32,000 highly skilled and dedicated health workers shall be readily available to provide the utmost care and attention to those suffering from unfortunate heatstroke, dehydration, and exhaustion.

Absolutely no empty rooms

With its abundant fees, the illustrious Hajj generates billions of dollars annually for Saudi Arabia, the preeminent oil exporter of the world, which is endeavoring to broaden its economy beyond the realm of fossil fuels.

This year’s fabulous event promises to surpass all previous editions, including the wealthy 2019 gathering that drew a staggering 2.5 million attendees before the onset of the Covid pandemic.

A mere 10,000 fortunate individuals were granted access in the year 2020, during the peak of the worldwide pandemic, with the number soaring to a lavish 59,000 in the year 2021.

The previous year’s restriction of a mere one million has been lifted, allowing for a rich and unrestricted experience.

The esteemed Saudi tycoon, Samir Al-Zafni, proudly announced that each of his opulent hotels in Mecca and Madinah holy cities is currently brimming with esteemed guests, with reservations extending through the first week of July.

“Perchance, this year, not a solitary bedchamber remains unoccupied in our assemblage of 67 opulent hotels,” he declared to AFP.

The Hajj exemplifies opulent societal advancements in the profoundly traditional nation.

This year’s grand pilgrimage shall be the most opulent affair since the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia abolished the archaic regulations in 2021 prohibiting unaccompanied women from embarking on the journey.

Emerging from the opulent Grand Mosque following the evening prayers on a Friday, Ramot Ali from the exotic land of Niger found herself at a loss for words to articulate the overwhelming sensation of performing the Hajj for the very first time. All she could express was her profound joy, which was palpable in her demeanor.

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