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More than 550 people died due to extreme heat during the pilgrimage to Mecca

More than 550 people died due to extreme heat during the pilgrimage to Mecca
More than 550 people died due to extreme heat during the pilgrimage to Mecca

The annual pilgrimage to Meccalocated in Saudi Arabia, witnessed a tragic episode. More of 550 pilgrims of various nationalities died product of the high temperatures in the region that exceeded 50 °C.

Of the 550 people who died – a number reported by the Al Muaisem morgue to AFP -, 325 are Egyptian pilgrims, 60 Jordanians and the rest come from various countries, among them, Tunisia, Indonesia, Iran and Senegal. The massiveness of the festival, which this year attracted 1.8 million pilgrimsputs the importance of better organization center stage.

The causes of the tragedy

The scenario experienced in Saudi Arabia during the Haj can be explained, mainly, by one factor: extreme temperatures. This year, the pilgrims had to face heat peaks of up to 52°C.

already during 2023 more than 10,000 people had to be treated for heat-related problemssaid a spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Health. In this way, the weather emerges as the main obstacle for the faithful heading to Mecca.

Kaaba.JPG

The Kaaba, the final destination of the annual pilgrimage.

Reuters

However, the massive nature of the religious holiday must also be taken into account. This year, the Hach attracted 1.8 million faithfulof which 1.6 million come from outside Saudi Arabia.

He country quota system and limited capacity of air-conditioned facilities This year, they left many travelers without adequate protection against the heat. Added to this is that numerous pilgrims travel on their own, without being officially registered, which worsened the organizational situation.

What is the Hajj, the Muslim celebration?

The Hajj, the main Muslim pilgrimage, is a major international religious event. Every year approximately Two million people move towards the holy city of Mecca in the last month of the Islamic calendar.

This festival constitutes one of the five pillars on which Sunni Islam is based, along with the profession of faith, daily prayer, almsgiving and fasting in Ramadan. In Shiite belief, pilgrimage is also part of one of the ten mandatory practices.

According to Islam, Every Muslim has the obligation to perform the pilgrimage at least once in their life.as long as you have the economic and physical capacity to carry it out. Specifically, the trip takes place at Kaaba, considered by Muslims “the house of God” on Earth. This is a cube-shaped construction, located in the center of the Al Haram mosque in Mecca and inside it houses a meteorite of unknown origin.

According to religious texts, the Haj commemorates the story of Hagar and her son Ishmael that, after being abandoned by Abraham, they made a journey on foot in search of water. That is why pilgrims take the same path as Hagar.

The Muslim celebration takes place in the last month of the islamic lunar calendar and its ending coincides with the beginning of Eid al Adha, the “Feast of the Sacrifice” or “Feast of the Lamb.”

The Haj extends between five and six days and, during the pilgrimage, there is a whole ritual to follow. The path begins with a physical and spiritual purification as a prior step to entering the city of Mecca, where you must also enter with a special suit. Furthermore, the faithful cannot perform certain forbidden activities during the celebration, such as: having sexual relations, wearing perfume, cutting nails and hair or sacrificing animals.

Source: Ambito

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