Muslim pilgrims perform last rites of hajj in Mecca

Pilgrims took part in one of the final stages of hajj - a symbolic stoning og the devil - using sanitised pebbles and maintaining social distancing Small groups of pilgrims – masked and physically distancing – performed one of the final rites of the Islamic hajj on Saturday, coinciding with the second day of Eid al-Adha, amid a global pandemic that has impacted nearly every aspect of this year's pilgrimage and celebrations. Men and women threw pebbles in a symbolic stoning of the devil for the second day. The last days of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia coincide with the four-day Eid al-Adha, or "Feast of Sacrifice," in which Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor. The hajj pilgrimage has also been drastically impacted by the virus. Last year, some 2.5 million pilgrims took part, but this year it was limited to 10,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Health Ministry said there have been no cases of the Covid-19 illness among this year's pilgrims. Government precautions included testing pilgrims for the virus, monitoring their movement with electronic wristbands and requiring them to quarantine before and after. Pilgrims were selected after applying through an online portal, and all had to be between 20 and 50 years of age. Saturday morning, small groups of about 20 people at a time, made their way toward the huge multistory Jamarat Complex in the Saudi valley area of Mina. There the pilgrims cast pebbles - which had been pre-sanitised - at three large columns. The hajj, both physically and spiritually demanding, intends to bring about greater humility and unity and is required of all Muslims to perform once in a lifetime."Holding the ritual in the shadow of this pandemic... required reducing the numbers of pilgrims, but it obliged various official agencies to put in double efforts," 84-year-old King Salman said in a speech read out on state television by acting media minister Majid Al-Qasabi on Friday. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected

Muslim pilgrims perform last rites of hajj in Mecca
Pilgrims took part in one of the final stages of hajj - a symbolic stoning og the devil - using sanitised pebbles and maintaining social distancing Small groups of pilgrims – masked and physically distancing – performed one of the final rites of the Islamic hajj on Saturday, coinciding with the second day of Eid al-Adha, amid a global pandemic that has impacted nearly every aspect of this year's pilgrimage and celebrations. Men and women threw pebbles in a symbolic stoning of the devil for the second day. The last days of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia coincide with the four-day Eid al-Adha, or "Feast of Sacrifice," in which Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor. The hajj pilgrimage has also been drastically impacted by the virus. Last year, some 2.5 million pilgrims took part, but this year it was limited to 10,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Health Ministry said there have been no cases of the Covid-19 illness among this year's pilgrims. Government precautions included testing pilgrims for the virus, monitoring their movement with electronic wristbands and requiring them to quarantine before and after. Pilgrims were selected after applying through an online portal, and all had to be between 20 and 50 years of age. Saturday morning, small groups of about 20 people at a time, made their way toward the huge multistory Jamarat Complex in the Saudi valley area of Mina. There the pilgrims cast pebbles - which had been pre-sanitised - at three large columns. The hajj, both physically and spiritually demanding, intends to bring about greater humility and unity and is required of all Muslims to perform once in a lifetime."Holding the ritual in the shadow of this pandemic... required reducing the numbers of pilgrims, but it obliged various official agencies to put in double efforts," 84-year-old King Salman said in a speech read out on state television by acting media minister Majid Al-Qasabi on Friday. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected