Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. The hajj, expected to draw more than two million pilgrims to Mecca this year, represents a key rite of passage for Muslims and a massive logistical challenge for Saudi authorities, with colossal crowds cramming into relatively small holy sites.
The first batch of 510 pilgrims from Borno are departing Madinah on Friday to Mecca to commence the main Hajj rituals. The pilgrims would be transported in luxury buses in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
An official at the Madinah control centre told NAN that the pilgrims would start the Mecca ritual from Miqat Halifa.
Hulifa is around nine kilometers from Madina and around 450 kilometers from Mecca. It is the Meeqat for people coming from Madina.
The Meeqat is the principal boundary at which pilgrims intending to perform the Hajj or Umrah must enter the state of Ihram. Ihram is a state of consecration in which certain permitted activities are made prohibited.
The pilgrims will take a bath, and wear two white clothes by men or any other color by women, signifying the state of purity, the pilgrims proceed to Mecca to perform the lesser Hajj (Umrah).
The Umrah process involves circumambulation of the Ka’abah inside the Holy Mosque seven times and doing the seven laps of Safa and Marwa.
The Safa and Marwa are in following the process done by Hagar, mother of Prophet Ismail, in search of water for her son in that location. After this, pilgrims would wait for the five-day Hajj.
Hajj is the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim must make at least once in his or her lifetime. The hajj is the fifth of the fundamental Muslim practices.