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Haj to begin on October 24

October 16, 2012 21:32 IST
The annual Islamic pilgrimage of Haj that is performed by millions of Muslims every year will begin on October 24.

Pilgrims from all over the world have already started pouring into Saudi Arabia and officials said over 1.2 million had arrived by on Monday, with many more set to come in the next few days.

Religious authorities in Saudi Arabia announced that the last month of the Islamic lunar calender will begin from Wednesday, with Eid Al Azha, the festival of sacrifice, to be celebrated on October 26, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The five-day rituals of Haj begin on the eighth day of the month and culminate with the rite of sacrifice.

Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to travel to Mecca is expected to perform the pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime.

During the five days of the main pilgrimage, the pilgrims perform acts that mark the events in the life of Prophet Abraham, as performed by Prophet Mohammad during his lifetime. They travel from Mecca to the nearby city of Mina to spend a night in prayer and spend time near Mount Arafat before performing the symbolic ritual of stoning the satan.

They also travel to Medina where among other things they pay a visit to the grave of Prophet Mohammad. The pilgrimage completes with a believer performing an act of sacrifice.

About 1.7 lakh pilgrims from India will be among millions of others from across the world, who will perform Haj this year.

While an estimated 125,000 pilgrims are travelling from India through the Haj Committee, about 45,000 will arrive through private tour operators.

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