Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia will head to the Kaaba in Mecca on Sunday to perform the final “tawaf,” or circumambulation ritual – when Muslims walk around the Kaaba seven times – as the final day of this year's Hajj nears completion under strict coronavirus precautionary measures.
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The pilgrims were transported from the area of Mina to first complete the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual where they hurl pebbles at a wall.
They are then set to visit the Grand Mosque in Mecca, where they will perform “tawaf” in their designated groups in an effort to avoid any spread of the virus or other health risks.
Upon completion, some of the pilgrims will be transported to the hotel for self-isolation while others will return to their hometowns where they are required to quarantine for 14 days, according to an Al Arabiya correspondent.
The Commander of the Grand Mosque’s Security Special Forces, Major General Yahya bin Abdulrahman al-Aqil, told the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Sunday that all necessary precautions and arrangements have been completed and the Grand Mosque is prepared to receive the Hajj pilgrims for a final visit.
“We are working to implement the approved plans to make this year’s Hajj pilgrimage successful in accordance with preventative and precautionary measures from the arrival of the pilgrims to Mecca up until they complete the farewell tawaf,” al-Aqil was quoted by SPA as saying.
The pilgrims will enter the Grand Mosque through designated doors and are required to follow specific marked paths to maintain social distancing up to the tawaf area. They will then begin circumambulating as a group.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom has only allowed those living in the country and who meet certain criteria to participate in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and required for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime.
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