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Hajj begins as pilgrims converge on Mina
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 29 - 07 - 2020

MINA — Amid strict coronavirus pandemic protocols, Hajj pilgrims have begun their lifetime spiritual journey by converging on the tent city of Mina since this morning.
To mark the beginning of the annual pilgrimage, the pilgrims performed Tawaf Al-Qudum (tawaf of arrival) and the ritual of sai at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Wednesday morning and then headed to Mina, located 7 km northeast of the Grand Mosque.
Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdel Fattah Mashat announced the success of completing the rituals of tawaf and sai as pilgrims followed social distancing and other precautionary measures approved by the Ministry of Health and implemented by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and other security and service sectors in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pilgrims arrived in Makkah after spending a week in institutional quarantine to perform the pilgrimage. A health leader has been assigned to each group of 50 pilgrims to ensure safety measures, including wearing a mask and social distancing, are implemented at all times.
Following the noble tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the pilgrims will spend the day and night on Wednesday, which is known as the Tarwiyah Day, in Mina. On the first day of Hajj rituals, they will engage in supplications and make final preparations for the Standing (wuqoof) at Arafat, the most important pillar of Haj, marking the climax of the annual pilgrimage on Thursday.
Mashat said that the approved health criteria are strictly being enforced for the pilgrims in their places of accommodation and buses.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah provided housing for pilgrims in the residential towers in Mina after taking precautions and preventive measures. He said pre-prepared meals will be provided to pilgrims for which one of the reputable companies has been assigned to distribute them among all pilgrims in their accommodation, buses, and waiting areas.
He said, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the security authorities, the pilgrims will be transported from Mina to the Namira Mosque in Arafat on Thursday, to listen to the sermon of Arafat and the performance of the prayers of Dhuhr and Asr combined and in a shortened form, and then they will perform the main ritual of wuqoof in their tents.

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