Monday 8th of Dhul Hijjah, corresponding to June 26, marks the first day of the annual Hajj, with over two million pilgrims from all over the world performing Hajj rituals for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pilgrims arrived at Masjid al-Haram in Mecca on Sunday, June 25, where they performed Tawaf al-Qudum, the first stage of Hajj after entering al-Ihram, the sacred state Muslims must enter and maintain during the rituals and special events required to perform Hajj or Umrah. The pilgrims then performed Sa’ee between the hills of Safa and Marwa, a ritual signifying devotion and faith in Allah.
Monday morning, pilgrims gathered in Masjid al-Haram to perform the sunrise prayers before heading off to Mina, around five kilometers from the Grand Mosque, to start the climb of Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him, delivered his last sermon.
Pilgrims will then move on to Muzdalifah, where they will spend the night praying and collecting stones for the symbolic stoning of the devil before embarking on the final stages of al-Hajj before Eid Al-Adha.
Restrictions on the number of pilgrims for this year’s Hajj season have been lifted for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak forced the Saudi authorities to limit the number of pilgrims.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set up thousands of tents in the region to ensure pilgrims from 160 countries enjoy a pleasant stay.