Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia have arrived in Mecca’s Grand Mosque 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 where they completed the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual where they hurled pebbles at a wall.
They will perform “tawaf” in designated groups in an effort to avoid any spread of the virus or other health risks.
#Hajj pilgrims in #SaudiArabia take part in the final day of the symbolic "stoning of the devil" ritual while maintaining social distancing during the annual event that usually brings millions of worshipers shoulder to shoulder.— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 2, 2020
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 was 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 entered the Grand Mosque through designated doors and were required to follow specific marked paths to maintain social distancing up to the tawaf area where they circumambulate as a group.
Watch: Muslim pilgrims perform Tawaf, circumambulating the #Kaaba, on the third day of #Hajj, dramatically downsized this year as #SaudiArabia strives to prevent a #coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage.https://t.co/HFqCTJ4hHD pic.twitter.com/Haaf4ULBuk— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 31, 2020
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 health ministry confirmed on Sunday that no pilgrims tested positive for the coronavirus during the Hajj period. All pilgrims will undergo health screenings once the Hajj rituals are completed, according to Alekhbariya news.
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.