Last Hajj ritual heralds Eid Al-Adha

A frail, elderly pilgrim found himself in the safe hands of a Saudi soldier after he spotted him in Mina struggling to complete Hajj rites. (Saud Almosihij / @O03oK)
Updated 12 August 2019
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Last Hajj ritual heralds Eid Al-Adha

  • 2.5m pilgrims in symbolic stoning of devil
  • King Salman, crown prince receive well-wishers

MINA: They began walking before dawn, hundreds of thousands of men and women, clad in white robes to signify a state of purity.

Their destination was Jamarat Al-Aqaba, and a three-story bridge from where they each threw seven pebbles at a pillar to symbolize the stoning of the devil — the last major ritual of the Hajj pilgrimage, heralding the start of Eid Al-Adha.

Large fans sprayed water over the crowds as temperatures soared. “It is hot, I drink a lot of water,” said Jaker Akjar, 48, a pilgrim from India on his first Hajj.

Over the next two days nearly 2.5 million pilgrims will complete the stoning ritual — 1.85 million from more than 160 countries, and a further 634,000 from inside Saudi Arabia. They will then return to Makkah, where they will pray at the Grand Mosque and circle the Kaaba seven times anti-clockwise.

Among them will be Islam Ali, a student, who traveled from Sudan. “I am really looking forward to seeing the Kaaba again,” she told Arab News. “It is, of course, the most amazing experience. I’m impressed by how organized it is in Makkah, despite the number of people — the officials have done a great job.”

Hassan Mustapha Ali, a pharmacist from Jordan, said: “It’s my first time and it’s been amazing. We used to watch Hajj on TV so it’s an incredible feeling to have the opportunity to fulfil this Islamic obligation.”

Throughout Hajj, members of Saudi Arabia’s security forces and civil defense volunteers have been working to ensure the safety of the pilgrims throughout the holy sites. They hand out water, act as quick-response teams helping those who struggle with the walking and heat, and they guide pilgrims — ensuring the safe flow of people through the crowded spaces, many of which are narrow pedestrian roads.

“It’s been great, Civil Defense volunteer Essam Al-Moalami told Arab News. “I feel so proud to help these people and to serve my country. It’s the second year in row that I have done this and I hope to do it next year too.”

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received well-wishers on Sunday afternoon at a palace gathering attended by royals, clerics, military leaders, ministers and distinguished guests to mark the first day of Eid Al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice.

Saudi Arabia had “fulfilled its duty for the sake of Allah and welcomed the guests of Allah without exception, and provided them with all the services needed to perform their Hajj rituals with ease, comfort, security and tranquillity,” the king said in a televised speech.


Madinah museum showcases over 2,000 rare artifacts

Updated 23 August 2019
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Madinah museum showcases over 2,000 rare artifacts

  • The museum has issued more than 44 books and publications on Madinah’s architecture

MADINAH: Dar Al-Madinah Museum offers visitors the opportunity to view historical pieces associated with the Prophet’s life. It features artifacts that capture the history, heritage, social life and culture of Madinah.

The museum’s executive director, Hassan Taher, said that it aims to promote the noble values of the Prophet Muhammad, encourage a sense of belonging and capture the history, culture and heritage of Madinah. The exhibits start with the Prophet’s life and end with the Saudi era.

Taher said: “The museum carries out specialized research in Madinah’s architectural heritage. It contains a library of relevant books, research and magazines, all of which are accessible to researchers.”

He said that the museum has issued more than 44 books and publications on Madinah’s architecture.

Taher explained that when preparing the museum’s narrative, it was necessary to reconcile temporal and spatial contexts so they created an added moral and intellectual value for the visitor.

He added: “There are around 2,000 artifacts in the museum’s exhibition halls. These include antiquities, extremely accurate models, handicrafts, manuscripts, documents, correspondence, old publications, postage stamps, photographs and artworks.”

One of the museum’s most valuable exhibits is a large collection of rare pieces associated with important moments in the Prophet’s life and the history of Madinah. 

These include various parts of the Kaaba, rare coins used in Madinah during different eras, ancient pottery, Islamic manuscripts, jewelry and collectibles from the pre-Islamic era.

Taher said that the museum has a professional team of guides who speak several languages, including English, Turkish, Urdu and Malay.