Nagpur has sent 850-900 Haj pilgrims
Mumbai/ Nagpur: This year’s Haj Pilgrimage records inclusion of 1.5 lakh Indian Muslims, joining tens of thousands of othersacross the world, each of them, on the annual journey of individual faith to holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arab, chanting Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik (I come to You, O My Lord! I come to You), all men and women clad in white seemless two-piece cloth, said the media reports.
Nagpur Haj Committee this season has sent about 850 to 900 Muslims including 50 widows and widowers, and remaining couples on their journey of faith, informed Haj Committee sources to Nagpur Today.
The white cloth the pilgrims are clad in stands for the symbol of purity. Women pilgrim too cover their body with white cloth except face and hands and the move towards the tent-city Mina in groups. The pilgrims travelled from Meca to Mina, a five kilometre distance. Many pilgrims travel by buses also, provided by their respective Haj missions and the Saudi Arab Government while certain pilgrims wish to move of feet, and aged or disabled may move on wheel chairs.
During their moving from Mecca to Mina, the emotionality and religious sentiments on the part of pilgrims is worth witnessing for their tears rolling down their eyes, and their continuous thanks-giving to Allah for providing the the opportunity of Haj in life time. After reaching Mina, the pilgrims spend night by reciting Holy Quran and praying before leaving for Mount Arafat the following day.
About Haj and its mission
This year, as many as 1,60,000 fire-proof tents in Mina have been provided to accommodate the pilgrims, Due fire safety measure are available with an integrated net-work of water-pipes throughout the Mina valley. After offering prayers at Mount Arafat, pilgrims will travel to nearby Muzdalifa to collect stones for the ritual in Mina Valley, an event which has been marred in the past by stampedes.
The next day the pilgrims will perform the symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at the three pillars. After the stoning, the pilgrims will perform the ritual of animal sacrifice to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Ismail, to God. The stoning ritual is meant to mirror Ibrahim’s stoning of the devil when he appeared to try to dissuade the Prophet from obeying God’s order to sacrifice Ismail. The pilgrimage will end after Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.
The Saudi government has arranged foolproof safety and security measures, deploying nearly 100,000 men in uniform at the holy sites to make the journey of a lifetime for the two million pilgrims safe and secure. Saudi Government officials said a total of 13,74,206 foreign pilgrims have arrived for Haj this year. The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam that should be performed at least once in lifetime by every Muslim who is financially and physically capable.
“Haj is where you see near-perfect synchronization among all government agencies, ministries and pilgrim establishments,” said prominent Saudi analyst Sami Al-Nwaiser. “It is gigantic task and the goal is to organize a successful, smooth and hassle-free Haj.” Saudi King Salman has directed agencies concerned to provide all services and facilities so that pilgrims perform their rituals with ease and comfort. About 1.5 lakh Indians are among the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who have converged in the Kingdom for the five-day Haj.
The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for security, has installed 5,000 CCTV cameras in Mecca and Medina. The feed from these cameras is monitored round-the-clock. “We are active, we are awake,” Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Al-Turki said, referring to the security forces’ readiness to deal with any eventuality. High winds, 10 days ago, toppled a massive crane that smashed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque and killed at least 107 people, including 11 Indians. Members of an elite counter-terrorism unit, traffic police and emergency civil defence personnel are among those deployed to help with crowd control and safety. They are supported by additional troops from the Army and National Guard. More than 3,000 Civil Defence personnel have been deployed in Mina to oversee the safety and security of the pilgrims against any emergency hazards.