Saudi Arabia accused by its neighbours of politicising Hajj

Saudi Arabia accused by its neighbours of politicising Hajj

Saudi Arabia accused by its neighbours of politicising Hajj

"We have deployed all our human and technical resources to watch the stand of the pilgrims on Arafat and monitor their descent to Muzdalifa and from there to Mina early Tuesday", he said.

A total of 1,28,702 Indian pilgrims are facilitated by the government to undertake the pilgrimage through the Hajj Committee this year.

The ultra-conservative kingdom, which is undergoing dramatic social and economic reforms, has mobilised vast resources for the six-day journey, one of the five pillars of Islam. The hajj presents the Saudi authorities with major logistical challenges, as Islam is now the world's fastest-growing religion, according to the Pew research centre.

Saudi authorities have said Qatari pilgrims were welcome at the hajj and last week denied it was blocking them from travelling to the kingdom's holy sites.

Some of the pilgrims - men in white seamless garments and women in loose dresses - pushed elderly relatives in wheelchairs on the second day of the Hajj.

Muslims are forbidden from engaging in sexual intercourse, cutting their hair or trimming nails while in ihram.

A new kiswa, the cloth embroidered with verses from the Koran, was placed over the Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque late on Sunday. This is considered as the first pilgrimage in Islam.

Arafat includes an open plain and Mount Arafat, which is also called Jabal Al-Rahma (Mountain of Mercy), that is 300 meters wide and 70 meters high.

For those undertaking annual haj pilgrimage and reach the valley of Mount Arafat, it is the time for celebrations and feasting.

After sunset, pilgrims will head to Muzdalifah, half-way between Arafat and Mina, where they will stay at least until midnight.

Arafat is the most important Hajj ritual, while other rituals would continue during the week.

The last three days of the haj are marked by three events: a final circling of the Kaaba, casting stones in Mina and removing the ihram.

At the hajj's end, male pilgrims will shave their hair and women will cut a lock of hair in a sign of renewal for completing the pilgrimage.

The UK's Ambassador to Kabul wishes all Afghans and Muslims around the world a happy and prosperous Eid-ul Adha. During the three-day Eid, Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.

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