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More than 1.7 million Muslims gather for start of hajj

31 Août 2017

The two women reportedly died in their sleep while the man is reported to have died at a medical facility in the Holy land.

Dressed in white, the pilgrims could be seen climbing up the sides of the hill and taking up positions to pray on rocks already heated by the morning sun.

The security aspect of the haj is arguably Saudi authorities' main concern, bearing in mind that pilgrims from Iran will be returning to Mecca after a one-year absence.

Muslims also flock to the country for the umra pilgrimage, which can be performed at any time of the year.

Saudi Arabia, which stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam's holiest sites and organizing the haj, has been hit by bombings by Islamic State in the past two years.

Saudi Arabia organises and conducts the pilgrimage, under the supervision of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman - the Custodians of the two holy mosques (Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina).

He also pleaded with the media to withhold the details so as not to further devastate the families of the affected pilgrims.

The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God in Islam.

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"I will spend the evening in prayer before we climb up the mountain for the dawn prayer", said a 72-year-old Tunisian woman, stretched out on a mattress.

The committee said eight companies, which planned to transport pilgrims, had lost 30 million riyals ($8.2 million) in potential earnings due to the Saudi "restrictions".

Accusations of the hajj being politicised have marred the region for some time.

Mina is a transit tent city camp between Makkah and Arafat.

They said on improvement and recovery, the pilgrims would be "discharged to do their Hajj rituals but those who are still sick will be taken by ambulances to the Holy Sites to complete their pilgrimage".

According to the Newspaper, pilgrims will early Thursday proceed to Arafat, a valley, which is about nine kilometers away from Mecca, where they will stay from morning to sunset at the Hajj climax.

In Malaysia for example, the waiting list for the average person under the quota is an estimated 94 years, according to an official from Lembaga Tabung Haji, a government-linked financial organization that provides savings services to Muslims planning pilgrimages to Mecca.

Near the end of the hajj, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, the "Feast of Sacrifice". There, they will pick up pebbles for a symbolic stoning of the devil and a casting away of sins that takes place in the Mina valley for three days.

More than 1.7 million Muslims gather for start of hajj