From the news desk

No major incidents on haj

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With Hajj pilgrims well into their third day of the ritual of pelting the Jamarat, there have been little incidents of note resonating from the Saudi Kingdom, despite the magnitude of the annual pilgrimage.

According to ITV broadcaster, Saawmiet Moos, they were yet to experience any major issues or difficulties as yet. But with more than 2 million people having undertaken the journey this year, and with temperatures soaring well into the 40°C range, he acknowledged that some pilgrims would have experienced the odd case of an injury, or possible dehydration. However, he stressed that things were generally going well in the Kingdom.

Two stories have made notable headway in Saudi Arabia in recent days, including the rise of the popular ‘selfie’ craze, which has sparked outrage amongst Saudi clerics. Since the beginning of the Hajj period, hujjaj have taken to snapping photos of themselves at various historical sites, uploading it on social media sites via the hashtag #hajjselfie.

Saudi clerics have indicated their disdain at the fact that many pilgrims have opted to forgo precious time for Ibadah or Wuqoof, in favor of sitting and taking pictures of themselves.

“Their understanding is that people have been distracted, and that has kind of been the one big story coming from the Hajj,” he said.

Having been witness to such incidents, Moos said there were two sides to the story. He suggested that many were using the selfies as a means to allow families back home to track their progress. Others were also using the trend on a personal note, by taking photos that would serves as a memory of their journey upon returned home.

“I think where the clergy have a problem is with people stopping the Tawaaf. I’ve witnessed it myself where they stop, turn their back to the Kaabah, and take a picture while they are making Tawaaf,” he said.

Another major story has been the big push from Saudi authorities to get Hujaaj to adhere to the religious rights of the pilgrimage. There have been reports that some individuals have attempted shorting cut their Hajj, by paying others to pelt the Jamarat on their behalf.

“The Saudi authorities, especially the religious clergy, have been speaking out against this quite strongly over the least 24 hours,” said Moos.

The Hajj period officially concludes on Tuesday the 7th October. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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