Last year, 364 people died during the Haj in Mina valley as they were preparing for a ritual that entails hurling stones at a wall. Another crush of people two years ago claimed 251 lives. Both incidents took place at the foot of a bridge, Jamarat, from where pilgrims throw stones at three pillars that symbolize the power of evil.
After last year’s serious incident, the authorities decided to destroy the bridge, where bottlenecks always occur, and this year they hope to avoid further tragedy.
The Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims are obliged to undertake the pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime, if they are physically and financially able. Many of those who decide to go on the pilgrimage are elderly people who have saved money for their entire lives to be able to reach
The Haj Supreme
The Haj starts today with the gathering of the faithful at Mina near
When pilgrims return to
In the next days there is the ritual of throwing stones in Mina, which symbolizes the rejection of evil.
To avoid overcrowding, the Saudi authorities have established an official quota of pilgrims per Islamic country (usually based on the ratio of one pilgrim per one thousand of its population). But believers who are not part of the quota system anyhow turn up from everywhere and they make management of the pilgrimage difficult.