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Hajj 2021: Pilgrims Perform Rituals Of Third Day Of Pilgrimage, Marking Eid Al-Adha

In a key ritual, the pilgrims throw seven pebbles at ‘Jamrat Al-Aqabah’ stone monument in the holy site of Mina

MUZDALIFAH/MINA, Saudi Arabia, 20 July, 2021 – Muslim pilgrims, in protective face masks and observing social distancing to guard against the COVID-19 coronavirus, performed the rites of the third day of Hajj 2021 on Tuesday, which also marked the start of Eid Al-Adha, a major feast observed by Muslims worldwide.

The number of pilgrims for this year’s Hajj has been dramatically reduced for a second consecutive year to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to, as a preventative measure in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilgrimage this year is limited to 60,000 citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia, who met certain conditions.

Hajj officially started on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, or Sunday, July 18, and lasts until the 12th of Dhul Hijjah, or Thursday July 22, although some pilgrims perform Hajj on the 13th of the same Islamic month, corresponding to Friday July 23 this year. Tuesday, the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, marks the third day of Hajj, as well as the start of Eid Al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).

Jamarat Al-Aqabah

After Fajr (dawn) prayers on Tuesday, the pilgrims headed from the holy site of Muzdalifah to Jamarat Al-Aqaba in the holy site of Mina to perform the rituals of the third day of the pilgrimage. These include the symbolic ritual of ‘Stoning the Devil’, where they throw seven pebbles at the largest of the three pillars, known as Jamrat Al-Aqabah.

The pilgrims also perform prayers throughout the day. The slaughter of sacrificial animals also starts on the third day of Hajj, for the start of Eid Al-Adha. As part of the third-day rituals, men shave their heads or get a haircut while women too cut their hair.

Following the stone-throwing ritual, pilgrims enjoy the right to remove Ihram garments and replace it with regular attire. Amid a series of precautionary measures, pilgrims then moved to the Grand Mosque in Makkah for encircling Tawaf Al-Ifadah, a key Hajj pillar. One of the key rituals is to perform Tawaf, where the pilgrims walk counter-clockwise around the Kaaba seven times.

The General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs and other relevant authorities organized the entry of pilgrims to the Grand Mosque through specific doors for each group of pilgrims. The highest preventive measures were in place, including physical distancing, while the pilgrims performed the Tawaf around the Holy Kaaba.

After the Tawaf, it is permissible for the pilgrim to feel free of all restrictions of Ihram, before returning to Mina, to stay for the next two to three days, until they finish their pilgrimage.

On the fourth day of Hajj, on Wednesday, the pilgrims return at noon to stone all the three pillars at Jamrat Al-Aqabah and on the fifth day, they throw pebbles at the pillars a third time. Then they are free to leave the holy site of Mina for Makkah before sunset, but some pilgrims continue their pilgrimage for a sixth day.

King’s Speech

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in a speech on Tuesday to citizens, residents, pilgrims, those serving them, and all Muslims worldwide congratulated them for Eid Al-Adha. The King’s speech was carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“I thank Allah Almighty for the great success of the Kingdom’s efforts in reducing the effects imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of life and works to increase society immunity by providing more than (22) million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to citizens and residents, which contributed to raising the operational capacity of the Two Holy Mosques and enabling those who visit them to perform rituals in a healthy and safe environment.”

“I praised the great awareness of visitors to the Two Holy Mosques for their commitment to the precautionary measures, and one of the most important results was that more than seventeen million beneficiaries of government applications launched during the pandemic have been able to perform Umrah, and pray in the Two Holy Mosques with ease and tranquility, safe from the effects of the spread of the Covid-19.”

“Dear Citizens,

“In view of the world is going today through the spread of the Covid-19 and its continuous mutation, and emanating from our concern for the safety of pilgrims, and contributing to besieging this epidemic and preventing its spread, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken a set of organizational and preventive measures during this year’s Hajj season, as required by the regulations as per international health standards, and the authorities concerned with serving pilgrims have implemented the digital Hajj system, which aims to focus on technology and reduce human cadres in crowd management and organizing Hajj, to ensure the safety and health of pilgrims, and the safety of personnel working in the service of pilgrims, the official authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will continue to evaluate health conditions and take all measures to preserve public health with the help of Allah Almighty.”

“Dear Muslims worldwide,

The Islamic cooperation has resulted in the success of holding this year’s Hajj season, through the solidarity of the sisterly Islamic countries in which they have always been accustomed, and the concerted religious bodies that supported and valued the measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Hajj this year, thus contributing to the protection of pilgrims, and preventing the spread of the epidemic and emanating from our concern, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has held the fifth pillar of Islam in light of this pandemic and many measures necessitated, it has taken into account that the segments of pilgrims represent all Islamic countries and our brothers and sisters residing on the land of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to give the opportunity for all nationalities to perform Hajj, and perform their rituals with ease, safety and security.”

Medical services

During the Hajj daily roundup, Dr. Mohammed al-Abd al-Ali, official spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said all health protocols are in place to ensure the Hajj pilgrims' safety. Ministry of Health teams continued accompanying the pilgrims on their journey on Tuesday.

The medical services provided to the pilgrims so far this Hajj season included a total of 651 visits to the clinics, 396 emergency cases, 37 cases of heat stress, and six cardiac catheterization operations, the spokesman said.

“No COVID-19 cases related to Hajj or any other diseases that impact public health were reported. All the medical operations were dealt with successfully and directly,” he said. “We feel optimistic that we had a COVID-free Hajj season. All plans and recorded measures were promising and successful. We are hopeful that we will conclude this Hajj season with complete success.”

During the daily Hajj roundup, Lieutenant Colonel Talal Al-Shalhoub, Security Spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, said that the first two stages of the Ministry’s Hajj Security Plan have been completed successfully, noting that the third stage is currently underway, related to the pilgrims’ stay in Mina over the remainder of the Hajj, known as the Days of Tashreeq.

He said a total of 356 violators of Hajj rules and regulations have been caught to date.

"Phases 1 & 2 of the Hajj Security Plan were completed successfully, and we have launched Phase 3 which will conclude as the days of Tashreeq end," he said, adding that "356 individuals attempted to violate the security measures applied during Hajj. Most notably, we prevented those who did not hold permits from accessing the holy sites, and took legal action against them."

Key regulations during every Hajj include the strict forbiddance of the transport of pilgrims without a permit. Any one transporting pilgrims without permits will face severe penalties for violating the law, including fines, jail, and confiscation of vehicle used, but with the COVID-19 outbreak, the measures include extra penalties for breaking the rules and endangering the health of the community.

Hisham Saeed, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, said the pilgrims will be staying in the holy site of Mina for the rest of their Hajj, and they are being provided with all services they need.

He said the Hajj’s symbolic stoning of the Devil ritual started at 3 am on Tuesday morning followed by Tawaf Al-Ifadah. He said the pilgrims were provided with the pebbles used in the ritual after they were disinfected and placed in special bags as per health protocols.

Each of the three floors within the Jamarat Bridge were designated for a specific category of pilgrims to avoid congestion.

Saeed said the Tawaf Al-Wada (Farewell Tawaf), the last rite of the pilgrimage, will start on the 12th of Dhul Hijjah, or Thursday July 22.

"Pilgrims are enjoying services at their lodgings. We continue to provide the necessary services and support until the last day of Hajj has ended, then we can announce the completion of all our plans," the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah spokesman added.

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