Hajj pilgrims offer prayers in Mecca as symbolic stoning of devil continues

Ehtesham Shahid

Published: Updated:

After two days of rituals and prayers on the outskirts of Mecca, Hajj pilgrims are now streaming in and out of the holy mosque in Mecca, mostly from their tents in Mina.

At the same time, the stoning of the devil ritual, which also continues for three days, is taking pilgrims to Jamraat.

In the markets surrounding the holy mosque and elsewhere in the city, barbers have been working extra hours to carry out the shaving of heads, which is another important part of Hajj.

"I have attended to at least 450 people in the last 26 hours," said a barber in the area. "We had to give out tokens because we couldn't manage the number of people that were coming in," he said.

A South African couple who performed hajj said it has been a privilege and they feel blessed about the opportunity. "It's not just about hajj, the joy of seeing so many people from all over the world, it's a very very special feeling," they said.

Mecca also got a festive look on Tuesday evening with fireworks going off in the vicinity of Masjid al-Haram. Individual pilgrims and those in large groups performed circumambulation (tawaaf) around the Kaaba, chanting verses from the Quran.

Since circumambulation goes on round the clock, maintaining clean surface was proving to be a challenging task. An innovative way was, however, employed through which a walking cordon of sweepers constantly swept debris off the floor.

A large group of pilgrims from Macedonia used another innovative method through which young men formed a human chain to make it easy for women and the elderly to complete the seven mandatory rounds.