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

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)


Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

Updated 26 September 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

  • The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals
  • Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25

NEW YORK: Misk Foundation, the not-for-profit philanthropic organization set up by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has joined forces with the United Nations in a ground-breaking campaign to advance the cause of young people around the world.
The agreement was signed at a ceremony at the UN’s New York headquarters a day after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres launched his own initiative to enlist young people in its strategy for global sustainable development.
The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals (SDG), via a series of meetings and forums as part of the UN’s Strategy for Youth.
The UN’s SDG program is a set of targets for future development, ranging from the elimination of hunger and poverty, through education and gender equality, to action on climate change and energy. It coincides with Saudi Arabia’s own Vision 2030 strategy in many respects.
Misk is the first non-governmental organization to join the campaign. “Misk’s mission is to discover, develop and empower young people to become active participants in the knowledge economy both in Saudi Arabia and globally, through partnerships such as this,” said a joint statement from the Saudi organization and the UN.
“Under the initiatives, young people’s leadership, creativity and innovation skills will be harnessed to bolster their ability to be agents for positive change during the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the SDGs in 2020.
“Adding to the existing Young Leaders for the SDGs initiative, a ‘Youth Gateway’ central knowledge hub on SDGs is planned, including a platform to map existing initiatives and provide opportunities for engagement, aimed at motivating more young people to take action. Tools will be developed to measure and track global indicators on youth development and well-being,” the statement added.
Bader Alsaker, chairman of the board of the Misk Initiatives Centre, said: "The Misk Foundation is committed to helping as many young people around the world realize their potential in the future economy and to encourage active global citizenship. The strategic agreement that we are signing today shows our commitment to this mission.
“Partnering with the United Nations will greatly enhance its vital work around the world to help young people from all backgrounds to realize their potential and meet the SDGs,” he added.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary-general’s envoy on youth, added: “This major contribution towards the UN Secretariat’s work on youth will be used to operationalize the new UN Strategy on Youth with a focus on advancing our collective efforts to support youth mobilization for the 2030 Agenda worldwide.
“It comes at crucial time, immediately after the public launch of the UN’s Youth Strategy, which shows the commitment and dedication of the Misk Foundation to supporting youth development globally,” she added.
Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25. Many of the policies of the Vision 2030 strategy to reduce oil dependency focus on the need for more and better employment for young people.
According to a recent global poll for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, young people have a far more optimistic view of their own future, as well as that of their country, than older people. “Young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents' generation,” Gates found.
Sultan Al-Musallam, global ambassador of the Misk Foundation, told the UN: “The core belief held by youth, that our problems can only be solved together, in a way that is blind to race, religion or region, is also the bedrock of the UN.”