MINA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Millions of haj pilgrims began heading back to Mecca for final prayers on Tuesday as the world’s largest annual gathering of Muslims wound down without incident despite the logistical challenges and escalating regional tensions.
Senior officials said there had been no major incidents and the logistical, security and health plans had been successful, even with some heavy rainfall.
Saudi - Arabia - Reputation - Guardianship - Islam
Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and its organization of the pilgrimage. It hopes to continue expanding attendance to help to build its tourism industry.
Pilgrims participated in a symbolic stoning of the devil, part of the haj rituals, in Jamarat before returning to Mecca, where the Grand Mosque filled with worshippers preparing to depart.
Saudi - Jasem - Ali - Haqawi - Authorities
Saudi pilgrim Jasem Ali Haqawi said he was grateful to the authorities for a well-run week of rituals.
“Nobody comes to the haj without things inside him that he wants to ask from God,” he said while preparing to conduct final prayers in Mecca. “The sick, the indebted … such things only God can grant and so you ask God for whatever you want.”
Nearly 2.5 million pilgrims, most of them from abroad, came for the five-day...
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