The annual pilgrimage began on Sunday in Mecca, Saudi Arabia with the tawaf, the circling of the Kaaba, in an event that is expected to break attendance records, the news site wrote.
“This year, we will witness the largest Hajj pilgrimage in history,”
said an official at the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, according to Al Jazeera.
More than 2.5 million Muslims are expected to take part, as coronavirus pandemic restrictions in place since 2020 have been fully relaxed, the news site wrote. That year, just 10,000 people were permitted to participate; 59,000 in 2021; and last year there was a cap of one million people, it reminded.
On Sunday evening, the pilgrims began making their way to Mina, about 8km from Mecca’s al-Masjid al-Haram, or the Grand Mosque, before they gather at Mount Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad is believed to have delivered his final sermon.
This year’s Hajj is a challenge, taking place in the nearly 45-degree-Celsius heat, the date for the pilgrimage dependent on the lunar calendar, Al Jazeera noted. Saudi authorities said more than 32,000 health workers and thousands of ambulances are on standby to treat cases of heatstroke, dehydration and exhaustion.