MOUNT ARAFAT: More than two million Muslims from around the world began the Hajj pilgrimage Wednesday, as they arrived in Mina to spend the day of Tarwiyah and follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Pilgrims now start heading to Mount Arafat.
On Wednesday, some pilgrims prayed at the Grand Mosque before heading to the Mina area or towards Mount Arafat, east of Makkah, where the Prophet is believed to have delivered his final sermon to followers.
They walked or took buses, with traffic police using loudspeakers to try to direct crowds speaking a medley of languages. They were dressed in simple white robes, marking a state of ihram (ritual purity).
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and comprises a journey to Makkah to perform religious rituals described in the Holy Quran.
The five-day ritual is a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.
Their journey went smoothly despite the huge number of vehicles and pedestrians. Traffic patrols were assisted by security forces in their efforts to organize the traffic, guide pilgrims and maintain security.
Along with the ministry, medical service departments of the National Guard Ministry, and the Defense Ministry and its hospitals appointed hundreds of their members to offer medical and treatment services to pilgrims at the holy sites.
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) is providing its services through thousands of members appointed to serve Hajjis. The organization designated a fleet of 100 ambulances spread throughout the holy sites.