Annual five-day hajj in Saudi Arabia comes to an end


The spirituality of the pilgrimage is being affected by the excessive materialism around the Grand Mosque.

Iran, which with 464 dead reported the largest number of victims in the disaster, did not send its pilgrims past year to the hajj in Saudi Arabia, as authorities in the two countries failed to agree on logistics.

Abdull Warsame, a Somali-American who lives in Minnesota, is leading 420 people to hajj this year from the United States.

It is the coming together of Muslims from every nation that makes Hajj so special.

Dr Ibrahim Kana, Head of Medical Team, said Nigeria had become the second after Pakistan to computerise health matters of all its pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

This week, Muslim pilgrims will start the five day ritual of Hajj.

NAHCON officials, led by Commissioner for Operations Alhaji Abdullahi Saleh, said they were impressed by the pilgrims' comportment and perseverance despite the overcrowding caused by shortages of tents in the city. From fixed CCTV cameras to the flying drones, everything is under control of the Saudi Arabian government.

Gerd Nonneman, a professor of International Relations and Gulf Studies at Georgetown University in Qatar, said the Saudi move was "a transparent propaganda stunt".

"We do find the anxiety level rising at this current time", said Sulaimaan Hamed, who operates Hajj Pros, an Atlanta-based company organizing hajj trips.

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Given the huge religious significance of Hajj for individuals and communities, it is with a slight sense of unease that I observe the ever-increasing encroachment of materialism onto the occasion.

Speaking to Malaysian media, Asyraf said he had conveyed Malaysia's appreciation to King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud at the ruler's Aidil Adha reception for foreign dignitaries on Saturday, and at a meeting with Mecca Governor Prince Khalid al-Faisal Al-Saud on Friday.

The pilgrimage has frequently been hit by stampedes and fires. Those calls were vehemently rejected by Saudi Arabia, which accused Iran of politicizing the hajj.

Two daily flights will land at Srinagar airport at 4.15 pm and 5.35 pm and each flight will carry 420 pilgrims.

"The serious and constant issue for the Islamic Republic is the preservation of the security, dignity, welfare and comfort of all pilgrims, particularly Iranian pilgrims", Khamenei said, according to Reuters.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, blamed the Saudi leadership for "murder".

"Where else, better than Mecca, Medina. can Muslims go to express their concerns regarding Al-Aqsa and Palestine?"

The prayer session which was held at Makkah shortly before leaving for Mina and coordinated by the Amirul Hajj and Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. AbdulHakeem AbdluLateef drew tears from both male and female pilgrims, crying unto Allah for safety and acceptable hajj rites.