Sat Nov 18 2017, 18:25:29 +03

Some 1.5 million Muslims starts the annual hajj pilgrimage

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(Makkah Al Mukarramah, AlummahWorld, Dhu-AlHijjah 09, 1437, September 10, 2016) Some 1.5 million Muslims launched the annual hajj pilgrimage to Islam's holiest sites on Saturday. On Friday, Sheikh Faisal Ghazzawi, Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque, delivered the sermon emphasizing that exploiting the Haj season to settle political scores, spreading sectarian hatred and slogan-shouting in the Holy Sites were among the worst forms of apostasy.

Sheikh Ghazzawi warned against causing any harm or hurting the feelings of any pilgrim. He also warned against disturbing the security of the country, arousing fear and anxiety among citizens and residents, creating chaos and affecting spiritual serenity.

“A Muslim should not violate the sanctity of fellow Muslim. The Prophet (pbuh) has warned against terrorizing believers,” he said. “It is our duty to follow the Prophet (pbuh) in all our deeds, and this include Haj,” Sheikh Ghazzawi said.

“In all our acts of worship, including Haj, we should practice Tawhid (monotheism). We should avoid Riya (show-off) and Sum’ah (conceit),” the imam said.

After preliminary rituals this week in Makkah at the Grand Mosque, the pilgrims moved on Saturday, many by bus, in debilitating temperatures exceeding 40 C (100 F) to Mina, several kilometers to the east.

They are following in the footsteps of Prophet Mohammed who performed the same rituals about 1,400 years ago.

The first day of hajj was traditionally the chance for pilgrims to let their animals drink and to stock up on water. Then they proceed to Mount Arafat, several kilometers further, for the peak of the hajj on Sunday.

Mina becomes their base, where an expanse of solidly-built white fireproof tents can accommodate 2.6 million pilgrims.