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Eid prayers offered in Saudi Arabia, Gulf

06 November, 2011

KARACHI: Eid-ul-Azha today is being celebrated in Saudi Arabia besides Gulf, European, Far Eastern countries and the US, while the Muslims following the sunnat-e-Ibrahimi offering Qurbani (sacrificial slaughter), our sources reported.

Saudi Arabia's largest congregation was held in Harmain Sharifain, Eid-ul-Azha prayer was offered in Masjid-ul-Haram and Masji-e-Nabvi, while in the Eidgahs of other towns and cities Eid prayers were also held.

The pilgrims in Saudi Arabia today return from Muzdalifah to Mina, will perform Ramy al Jimar and offer Qurbani (sacrificial slaughter).

Yesterday more than two million Muslims gathered on Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Mount Arafat and its surrounding plain, marking the peak day of Haj.

Wearing the Ihram, the pilgrims filled the Nemra Mosque in Arafat and the nearby streets and camps for collective prayers, led by Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh.

"Rulers should think about the masses, ignoring their personal interests. We are facing the current situation due to corruption," he said in a speech before the prayer began.

"Islam is the solution to the problems of Muslims," he said, warning the faithful of 'a media and cultural invasion that seeks to weaken (their) faith'.

He urged Muslims to solve their problems without interference from their enemies, condemning those who want to 'provoke hostility between you and your leaders'.

There were no immediate reports of major incidents as security officials focused on crowd control. "Things are going well and according to plans," Interior Ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told AFP.

Many went on buses, while others set off on foot from Mina, a tent-village that comes to life only during the five-day pilgrimage. Others took the Mashair Railway, also known as the Makkah Metro, to go to Mount Arafat and its surrounding plains, where the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon.

The Chinese-built railway is operating for the first time this year at its full capacity of 72,000 people per hour to ease congestion and prevent stampedes in which hundreds have been killed in past years.

The dual-track light railway connects the three holy sites of Mina, Muzdalifah and Mount Arafat - areas that see a massive influx of pilgrims during Haj.

After sunset, pilgrims swarmed to Muzdalifah, half way between Mount Arafat and Mina, to spend the night. On Sunday, they return to Mina after Fajr prayers for the first stage of the 'stoning of the devil' and to make the ritual sacrifice of an animal.

On the remaining three days of Haj, the pilgrims continue the ritual stoning before performing the circumambulation of the Holy Khana Kaaba and then heading home.

However, the gathering in the plains around Mount Arafat symbolises the climax of Haj.

More than 1.83 million pilgrims have arrived in the kingdom from abroad, marking a 1.5 percent increase from last year, said Makkah governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal.

Several hundred thousand Saudis and foreign residents in the kingdom were also granted permits to join them, he added.

In January 2006, 364 pilgrims were killed in a stampede at the entrance to a bridge leading to the stoning site in Mina, while 251 were trampled to death in 2004.

In July 1990, 1,426 pilgrims were trampled to death or suffocated in a stampede in a tunnel, also in Mina. The deaths prompted authorities to dismantle the old bridge and replace it with a multi-level walkway with one-way lanes to ensure a smooth flow of pilgrims.

For the first time this year, Haj is being streamed live on video-sharing website YouTube in cooperation with the Saudi government. The stream can be seen at youtube.com/hajjlive.

Meanwhile, the Ghilaf-e-Kaaba was replaced. The ceremony of replacing Ghilaf-e-Kaaba was attended by the management of the Haram Sharif. The old Ghilaaf-e-Kaaba will be torn into pieces and will be gifted to the heads of different Islamic countries.

End.


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