Masked Hajj pilgrims on Mount Arafat pray for Covid-free world

Only 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi citizens and residents selected for the pilgrimige


Reuters July 19, 2021
Muslim pilgrims pray at the plain of Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia July 19, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

ARAFAT:

Thousands of face-masked pilgrims performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage gathered on Mount Arafat on Monday to atone for their sins, expressing hopes for peace and an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites in Makkah and Madina, has barred worshippers from abroad for a second year running and has restricted entry from within the kingdom under special conditions to guard against the coronavirus and its new variants.

Only 60,000 Saudi citizens and residents, aged 18 to 65, who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from the virus and do not suffer from chronic diseases, were selected for the annual pilgrimage, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

Muslim pilgrims pray at the plain of Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia July 19, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Muslim pilgrims pray at the plain of Arafat during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia July 19, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

"It is an indescribable feeling that I got selected among millions of people to attend the Hajj. I pray for God to put an end to these hard times the whole world has gone through under the coronavirus," said Um Ahmed, a Palestinian pilgrim who lives in the Saudi capital Riyadh and who said she lost four family members to the virus.

Read: Saudi Arabia stages second scaled-down Hajj of coronavirus era

In previous years, more than two million pilgrims used to cover Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat, sitting close to each other in the scorching heat of the desert city of Makkah, carrying umbrellas and fans to keep cool as temperatures rose towards 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Muslim pilgrims gather at the plain of Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia July 19, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Muslim pilgrims gather at the plain of Arafat during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. PHOTO: REUTERS

This year pilgrims had to observe social distancing and wear face masks on Mount Arafat.

Mount Arafat is also where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) gave his last sermon.

"The first prayer is to ask God to lift this pandemic, this curse and this grief for all humanity and for Muslims, so in the next years they are able to attend Hajj and for millions to refill these holy sites," said Maher Baroody, a Syrian pilgrim.

PHOTO: REUTERS
PHOTO: REUTERS
PHOTO: REUTERS
PHOTO: REUTERS
PHOTO: REUTERS

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read