Egyptian pilgrims prepare for ascending Mount Arafat as last tourism Hajj flight arrives

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Jun 2024

The last tourism Hajj flight arrived early on Wednesday, carrying 102 Egyptian pilgrims to perform the Hajj rituals during the current season which starts Thursday.

Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia s holy city of Mecca on June 12, 2024, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. AFP


A total of 274 tourism Hajj flights have been operated to Saudi Arabia this season, transporting 18,832 pilgrims, Head of the Egyptian Tourism Hajj Mission Samia Sami stated.

Pilgrims from the latest tourism Hajj flight have arrived in Mecca and Medina, and their accommodation arrangements were finalized, Sami added.

On Friday, scores of pilgrims in Mecca hailing from around the world will start leaving for the holy sites in preparation for the commemoration of the Day of Arafat, considered the climax of Hajj.


Muslim worshippers pray before and touch the doors of the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on June 13, 2024, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. AFP


Day of Arafat

The Day of Arafat falls on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, which comes this year on Saturday 15 June.

On that day, Muslim pilgrims gather at the sacred hill of Mount Arafat for an intense day of worship and prayers.

In this place and on the same date 14 centuries ago, Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon, where he highlighted the sacredness of human life and that no ethnicity or race holds any superiority over another.


Muslim worshippers walk around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on June 13, 2024, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)


Many pilgrims will depart to Mina, a small valley located a few kilometres from Mecca, where they will spend the night and then ascend to Arafat early on Saturday.

Meanwhile, many other pilgrims will be directly transported to Arafat for their convenience and to facilitate crowd management in Mina.

Sami underlined the necessity of ensuring a smooth and easy journey for pilgrims while ascending Mount Arafat, with timing that avoids any congestion on the roads leading to the holy site.

Around 660 vehicles, including buses, cars, and taxis, will transport tourism Hajj pilgrims starting Friday afternoon, Ahmed Ibrahim, a member of the tourism ministry's Hajj and Umrah Committee, said. 

The vehicles will be available in front of pilgrims’ hotels in Mecca to transport them to Arafat and then take them back after completing the Hajj rituals on the third day of Eid Al-Adha.


Pilgrims leave after offering prayers outside at the Grand Mosque, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, June 13, 2024. AP


Egypt’s assistant minister of interior for administrative affairs has noted that 42,604 Egyptian pilgrims have arrived in the holy sites in Saudi Arabia as of 8 June. This includes pilgrims travelling through the lottery, NGOs, and tourism companies.

Hajj rituals

Hundreds of thousands of Hajj pilgrims travel annually to Mecca to fulfil the mandatory religious duty that every financially able Muslim must perform at least once a lifetime.

The 2024 Hajj season begins on Thursday 13 June, corresponding to the 7th of Dhul-Hijjah (1445 AH), and concludes on the evening of Wednesday 19 June.

Moreover, pilgrims are preparing for the Day of Tarwiyah on Friday, the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, when many of them head from Mecca to Mina.

Saturday marks the Day of Arafat when pilgrims stand at Mount Arafat from dawn until sunset; then, they spend the night in Muzdalifah.


Saudi men embroider Islamic calligraphy, using either pure silver threads or silver threads plated with gold, during the final stages in the preparation of a drape, or Kiswa, that covers the Kaaba, June 13, 2024. AP


Then comes the first day of Eid Al-Adha when pilgrims perform the Stoning of the Jamarat ritual, where they throw small pebbles at three stone structures in Mina; then, they sacrifice cattle.

Hajj concludes with the Days of Tashreeq, which fall on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.

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