Millions of pilgrims walk to Mina to perform Jamarat, Eid Al-Adha prayers

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The pilgrims walked to the site where they queued in the baking heat to perform the "stoning of the devil" ritual. (SPA)
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Men and women, side-by-side threw their three stones at the large pillars. (SPA)
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The site has multi-level walkways under screens, to protect them from the sun. (SPA)
Updated 21 August 2018
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Millions of pilgrims walk to Mina to perform Jamarat, Eid Al-Adha prayers

  • They had spent the previous night camped out after having been to Mount Arafat
  • Tuesday also marked the start of Eid Al-Adha

MAKKAH: Muslims celebrated the first day of Eid Al-Adha on Tuesday, which marks the closing parts of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The massive crowds had spent the previous night camped out in Muzdalifah, having performed the most important of the Hajj rituals, visiting mount Arafat, where they believe the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon.

They had also endured poor weather conditions, which ranged from the intense heat of the summer sun, rain and sandstorms.

Millions of pilgrims gathered at Mount Arafat on Monday. (AFP)

On Tuesday, clad in white robes, shaded only by umbrellas, the 2.4 million pilgrims from 165 countries walked to the complex at Jamarat to throw pebbles at three columns.

It is here that Muslims believe the devil tried to talk the Prophet Ibrahim out of submitting to God’s will.

Muslims believe Ibrahim's faith was tested when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Ismail.

“The Feast of Sacrifice”

The pilgrims perform the stoning ritual, where they gather at three pillars that represent the Devil.

They throw three stones, each bringing them closer to God as they repent the Devil.

The stoning ritual area is on a multi-level structure that surrounds the pillars with a walkway to and away the site to ensure the safety of the millions of pilgrims.

The final days of Hajj coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday, or "Feast of Sacrifice."

They traditionally slaughter sheep for the three-day festival, a tribute to the Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice of a lamb after God spared Ishmael, his son.

 

 

They will consume some of the meat and give the rest to poor people unable to buy food.

The Saudi authorities have deployed more than 130,000 security forces and medics as well as modern technology including surveillance drones to maintain order.

“The police assistance and the services were all extraordinary. Praise God, I am very happy and God willing our Lord will provide for us again,” said Jordanian Firas Al-Khashani, 33.

“A beautiful feeling“

The once in a lifetime pilgrimage last five days and sees people travel from all over the world and while the intense heat and vast crowds might seem testing to many, the pilgrims seem to bask in that same test of faith.

“It is a beautiful feeling,” said Egyptian Hazem Darweesk, 31. “The beauty of it is in the difficulty of performing it. It brings you closer to God.”

King Salman arrived in Mina, east of Makkah, on Monday evening ahead of Eid Al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice.

King Salman arrived in on Monday, he said it was a privilage for Saudi Arabia to serve the pilgrimage. (SPA)

 


Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019
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Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


EVENTS WATCH

1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.


The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.