We have eradicated terrorism, its funders: Saudi Arabia

Monday, 04 Sep, 2017

Saudi television showed a sea of pilgrims cloaked in white cloth robes, many clutching umbrellas to shield them from the sun, climbing Mount Arafat, where Islam's Prophet Mohammed, is thought to have given his final sermon.

Muslims around the world Friday celebrate Al-Adha Eid, an important festival on the Islamic calendar which marks the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The rituals involved are meant to cleanse the soul and demonstrate the equality and solidarity of all Muslims, in their submission to God, said the statement.

Lagos State maintained her "Centre of Excellence" status when the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) inspection team stormed the state's pilgrims' tent in Mina, Saudi Arabia at the weekend.

The Hajj ritual is the "fifth pillar" of the Islamic faith, one that must be performed by Muslims - if financially viable - at least once.

The Saudi government has since widened roads in and around Mina to increase capacity, and this year has laid on more than 100,000 security forces to manage the crowd.

Two daily flights will land at Srinagar airport at 4.15 pm and 5.35 pm and each flight will carry 420 pilgrims.

"Haj is all about living lightly and centring yourself around God", 28-year-old pilgrim Shanza Ali - the chair of the UK-based group Muslim Climate Action - told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Abdull Warsame, a Somali-American who lives in Minnesota, is leading 420 people to hajj this year from the United States.

Muslim pilgrims gather in the holy city of Mecca before heading to Mina for the start of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The second day of the hajj, a must for all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it, is dedicated to prayer and reflection.

According to the latest reports by the General Authority for Statistics, as many as 2,352,122 pilgrims performed the Haj this year - comprising of 1,752,014 Hajis who came from outside and 600,108 domestic pilgrims, the newspaper reported.

Political tensions are overshadowing the great religious event, but have not prevented 86,500 Iranian pilgrims from coming to Mecca this year after they were excluded last year following a deadly stampede during the 2015 Hajj.

Qatar has accused Saudi Arabia of creating obstacles for Qatari pilgrims, a claim Riyadh had rejected.

Tehran reported the largest number of stampede victims, with 464 Iranians among the dead.

Noura Sulieman, a pilgrim from the Philippines, said she had been to the Hajj several times before and was praying for her family.

After finishing the stone-throwing ritual on the first day of Eid al-Adha, male pilgrims traditionally shave or cut their hair and change out of their seamless robes.