Months of detailed preparation will come to fruition on Friday as the sacred journey of hajj begins in the holy lands of Saudi Arabia. More than 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the pinnacle of the hajj, with more than 4000 South African Muslims forming part of this global event. After midnight on Thursday, hujjaj will don the ihram and start the exodus from Azizia to the tent city, where they will rest before the pinnacle of their journey – the Day of Wuquf on the Mount Arafat. The pilgrims will spend the entire day in intense heat, engaging in prayer and supplication. From there, they will leave at sunset to the plains of Muzdalifah.
Speaking to VOC from Saudi Arabia, South African journalist Faizel Patel described the atmosphere as “electric”.
“Many of the South Africans are first time hujjaj. They have waited for years for this experience. So when they arrive in Mina tomorrow, the reality will start to sink.”
The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) said its systems go, as it prepares for the movement of hujjaj to Mina on Thursday night.
“With the qudrat of Allah SWT, we are ready. With the administrative processes of the Muasassa, the Ministry of Hajj, Sahuc and the hajj operators, everything is now in place,” declared Sahuc deputy president Shaheen Essop.
“Our team is in Mina to ensure everything is in place at the camps. So from midnight, our hujjaj will start moving.”
The last groups of the 500 additional hujjaj, who accommodated in a late quota by the ministry, arrived in the Kingdom on Monday.
Sahuc’s volunteers and medical mission are now preparing for the exodus of South African hujjaj, many of whom will be challenged by the extreme heat in the holy cities.
Sahuc’s medical team has been rated the sixth best in the world and was awarded by the Hajj Ministry this week. VOC