The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence.
If you are familiar with the movie Malcolm X, he took this trip which changed his view of the world. This normally peaceful journey was disrupted when a unknown stampede left over 220 crushed to death and 450 people injured.
Ear Hustle 411 and its writing staff would like to send prayers and condolences to those who are affected by this tragedy.
Via Daily Mail
At least 220 people have been crushed to death and around 450 hurt in a stampede of pilgrims in one of the worst incidents in years to hit the Muslim Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s civil defense service said rescue operations were under way after the stampede in Mina, where almost two million pilgrims were taking part in the last major rite of the Hajj.
It was not immediately clear what had caused the stampede.
Pilgrims had converged on Mina just outside Mecca on Thursday to throw pebbles at one of three walls representing Satan, the symbolic ‘stoning of the devil’ that marks the last day of the event.
The world’s 1.5 billion Muslims were marking Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, the most important holiday of the Islamic calendar.
The Hajj is among the five pillars of Islam and every capable Muslim must perform it at least once in a lifetime.
In the past, the pilgrimage was for years marred by stampedes and fires, but it had been largely incident-free for nearly a decade following safety improvements.
Preparations for this year’s Hajj were marred when on September 11 a construction crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, killing 109 people.
In January 2006, 364 pilgrims were killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina.
Yesterday, a massive crowd of two million Muslims poured into a vast Saudi plain before dawn as they gathered to worship at the foot of Mount Arafat marking the pinnacle of the pilgrimage.
The flow of exhausted pilgrims was so big that Saudi security forces had to form a human chain along the roads of the vast Arafat plain while a jets of water were sprayed on the huge crowds to keep them cool amid searing heat.
Many of the faithful from around the globe camped at the foot of Mount Arafat where they slept and prayed – despite the scorching sun – at the spot where Prophet Mohammed is believed to have given his final sermon.
Carrying colorful umbrellas, they walked from dawn in massive crowds towards the slippery, rocky hill which is also known as Mount Mercy.
Here they believe Mohammed gave his final sermon 14 centuries ago after leading his followers on Hajj.
Many reached Arafat by bus while some walked from the holy city of Mecca about nine miles away. Along the way, volunteers handed out boxes of food and cold water bottles.
For many pilgrims, Hajj is the spiritual highlight of their lives.
‘We feel blessed. I got goosebumps, a feeling that cannot be explained, when reaching the top of the mountain,’ said Ruhaima Emma, a 26-year-old Filipina pilgrim, who said she has been ‘praying for a good life for everyone’.
For Akram Ghannam, 45, from war-torn Syria, being in Arafat is a ‘feeling that cannot be described. I pray to God for the victory of all those who are oppressed.’
Other pilgrims arrived from nearby Mina using the elevated Mashair Railway linking the holy sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, a tent city where many pilgrims spent Tuesday night.