Friday, January 6, 2006
The Annual Hajj Pilgrimage.
Over 1.3 million Muslims have arrived reported in Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage but their numbers will be slightly lower than last year due to safety concerns.
Around 1.5 million foreign pilgrims are expected to arrive in the Muslim holy city of Mecca from all over the world by Sunday 8th January when the five-day ritual, which is a duty at least once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim, begins.
Last year 1,534,000 foreign pilgrims performed the hajj.
Saudi official said more than 1.3 million Muslims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the annual haj pilgrimage but their numbers will be slightly lower than last year due to safety concerns.
Around a million Saudi-based pilgrims were to take part in the haj. Up to 300,000 more are expected to slip into Mecca without permits, taking the number of total pilgrims to over 2.5 million, he added.
Some 250 pilgrims died in a stampede during the stoning of three stone pillars which symbolise the devil at the Jamarat bridge on the third day of hajj in January 2004.
Saudi authorities said they have tightened health controls for this year's pilgrimage, which health experts have warned could create the conditions in which a fatal flu pandemic could emerge.
Many pilgrims come from Asian countries, where the deadly H5N1 form of bird flu has killed more than 70 people since 2003.
We pray that they would be bless and returned home as a Mabrur Hajj, Insyaallah!