Posted 27 июня 2023,, 06:50

Published 27 июня 2023,, 06:50

Modified 27 июня 2023,, 08:10

Updated 27 июня 2023,, 08:10

Hajj in Saudi Arabia: how can Russian Muslims get to holy places

Hajj in Saudi Arabia: how can Russian Muslims get to holy places

27 июня 2023, 06:50
The authorities in Riyadh said that for the duration of the five-day Hajj to Mecca, covid and age restrictions imposed four years ago are being lifted from its participants. It is expected that the number of pilgrims this year will break the record and amount to more than 2.5 million people arriving from 160 countries.

Sergey Kron

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, implying a pilgrimage to holy places in Mecca, Medina and their surroundings, associated with historical events in Islamic culture. This year, the Hajj is held from June 26 to July 1.

On Monday, at dawn in Mecca, after performing a ritual ablution, groups of believers dressed in white clothes began to circumnavigate the Kaaba, the main shrine of Islam, seven times counterclockwise. This cube-shaped building, according to Islamic legends, is considered the first temple on Earth.

A black stone is embedded in the wall of the Kaaba, which, according to the scriptures, was white at first, but began to darken due to human sins. In each of the seven rounds, the pilgrims will try to kiss the stone, and during the entire ritual, the Koran is read to them. Then the pilgrims perform prayer and drink water from the sacred Zamzam spring. Millions of believing men and women from all over the world will go through this ritual.

Everyone who has passed the Hajj tells about one of the most unusual rituals in Islam, in which guests participate — throwing seven stones picked up in the Mina Valley into one of the three pillars symbolizing Shaitan (Satan). By performing this rite, Muslims seem to mentally promise to make every effort to expel demons from their lives.

Eid al-Adha — a test of faith

One of the final stages of the Hajj is a visit to the Mina Valley and Mount Arafat. There, pilgrims must spend the night before dawn on the 10th day of the month of Zulhija. This day is called Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice. Its roots go back to the story of the Prophet Ibrahim.

The ancient chronicles say that once an angel appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and conveyed the command of Allah to sacrifice the eldest son of Ismail. This is how the Almighty tested Ibrahim. And when, experiencing terrible mental anguish, the prophet was already ready to agree to kill his own son, Allah had mercy. As a result, the human sacrifice was replaced: a ram became the sacrificial lamb, and Ibrahim successfully passed the test of faith.

Since then, Eid al-Adha has been the main holiday of the year for most Muslims. On this day, you can not show aggression when you stab a sacrificial animal, it can not be tortured. It is also unacceptable for other animals to see what is happening.

People in Mecca is dying from heat and exhaustion

Saudi Arabia, as Al Jazeera testifies, has prepared well for the meeting of pilgrims — huge tent camps have been erected, where supplies of water and food have been delivered, security forces have been deployed. But many pilgrims during the Hajj still die from exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration. The heat in the Mecca area reaches +45 Celsius,

In addition, the Saudi police are hunting for gangs of pickpockets who brazenly operate in crowds of pilgrims. Guests are usually advised not to wear gold jewelry and wallets with money. In pre-pandemic times, security services managed to detain several thousand thieves a day.

Saudi authorities have said that more than 32,000 medical workers and thousands of ambulances are on standby around the clock. At the same time, doctors themselves remain participants in the Hajj and are obliged to perform the rite of prayer five times a day. And in front of mosques, by the way, there are kilometer-long queues and often they, quitting the service, obediently wait for the hour of prayer.

For pilgrims from economy class, they do not wash dishes

According to representatives of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Tatarstan, in 2023, the quota for Hajj to Saudi Arabia for pilgrims from Russia has 25 thousand seats. This figure is fixed in a special agreement.

However, no one can forbid any Muslim believer to go to the Hajj on his own, if there is money, of course. But in this case, this «guest of Allah» will be responsible for his own safety. Galiya Musatova, a Muscovite who had previously performed the Hajj to Mecca and Medina, warned about this in an interview with NI.

— It is better to go as part of a group of believers, — she advises. — Of course, not everything in reality is organized as well as they say on the Internet, but still there are employees of travel agencies who can be contacted when there are questions about hajj and accommodation. Moreover, a week—long trip costs a Russian not cheap — at least $ 5.5 thousand. Nobody wants to get sick or get into some kind of criminal history.

The price of the «voucher» includes a flight to Jeddah via Istanbul or the Emirates, transfer to the hotel, accommodation and meals. But before you get to your room, you will have to sit for five or six hours in a stuffy airport. Saudi travel agencies in Moscow are organizing the trip. Moreover, to take part in the Hajj, you need to submit your application two or three months in advance. And there are thousands of applicants.

By the way, Arab travel agencies can also organize a «luxury» trip, which will cost $ 10-15 thousand. Even more expensive is a tour to Saudi Arabia for 40 days. Rich pilgrims from Russia is accepted there as sheikhs.

According to the former pilgrim, she and other Russians were taken from the airport to a hotel located in the city of Mecca. Four people were crammed into a small double room. And try, say something!

— Newly arrived Russians from economy class were offered to go down to the restaurant and taste Turkish cuisine. But everyone was scared off, to put it mildly, by the untidy appearance of the service staff and poorly washed plates. I had to give up chowder and stale tortillas, » recalls Galia.

It is believed that every Muslim believer should perform the Hajj at least once in his life, of course, due to his material capabilities. After that, the male pilgrim receives the honorary title of «Hajji», and the woman — «Hajiya» and the right to wear a green turban. Those who are unable to visit Mecca on their own can send another person for themselves, paying him all the costs of performing the Hajj. Non—Muslims are not allowed to Hajj, » Hajiya Musatova warned.