More than 2 million Muslims began the main rituals of Hajj on Wednesday, heading from the holy city of Makkah to Mina, where they rest and pray for the night before moving on to Mount Arafat.
The pilgrims, of whom nearly 1.7 million came to Saudi Arabia from abroad, started to travel by bus, on foot or with the Mashair light railway to the arid plain of Mina, where they will spend the night in government supplied tents. The passage to Mina marks the official launch of Hajj on the eighth day of the month of Zilhajj.
On Thursday (today), they will ascend to Mount Arafat to spend the day in prayer. After sunset, they will head to Muzdalifah, between Mina and Arafat, where pilgrims collect stones to throw at the devil, one of the last rituals which will take place on Friday and marks the first day of Eidul Azha. This is followed by the ritual sacrifice of an animal.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2012.
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