MAKKAH, August 19 (CIC) – Various scenes showing Muslim pilgrims from every corner of the globe gathered in the holy city of Makkah in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday, ahead of the start of the pilgrimage later that day.
By this time, pilgrims would have performed Umrah, the minor Islamic pilgrimage, and are getting ready for Hajj, the major pilgrimage. Hajj officially started on the evening of 8th of Dhul Hijjah, or Sunday August 19, and lasts for five days until the 12th but some pilgrims still perform Hajj on the 13th of the same Islamic month of 1439 Hijri year, corresponding to Friday August 24th, 2018.
From the early morning on Sunday, pilgrims reciting prayers and asking God for acceptance and forgiveness started to flock from Makkah to the Holy Site of Mina to spend the first day of Hajj – known as Yaum Al Tarwiyah.
Saudi authorities officially have said that the total number of pilgrims performing Hajj this year has now surpassed two million, the majority of them from outside the Kingdom. Officials said that the final numbers may increase with the arrival of more pilgrims in the next couple of days. The biggest contingents are from Egypt, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Jordan.
One of the five pillars of Islam, Hajj is the Muslim major pilgrimage to Makkah, Islam’s holiest city. All Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the pilgrimage are required to do so at least once in their lives.