MAKKAH – More than 2 million Muslim pilgrims will begin leaving the holy city of Makkah, concluding peacefully the last of the solemn rituals of the soul-searching journey of hajj.
In the last ritual of the annual pilgrimage, the white-clad pilgrims performed the final Tawaf (circumambulation) as they walked seven times around the Ka`bah in the Grand Mosque complex in Makkah.
The Ka`bah, with a black stone set in the eastern corner, is not an object of worship, though Muslims pray towards it, but a sanctuary and a spiritual center.
The farewell Tawaf should be done at the last hour before leaving Makkah. If the pilgrim spends another night in Makkah after the tawaf, he or she must repeat the ritual.
The farewell circumambulation came after the pilgrims, some in groups others alone, completed on Monday the three-day ritual of stoning the Devil at Jamrat Al-Aqaba, hurling pebbles at all three wide walls representing Satan.
The first Haj return flight from Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah will take off on Tuesday.
Concluding hajj, the Saudi Kingdom was widely praised for its success in organizing a safe hajj for two millions of pilgrims.
Anwar Gargash, UAE state minister for foreign affairs, took to Twitter to praise the successful Hajj season.
“In a nutshell, the huge success of Saudi Arabia in the organization of Hajj is a success for all Muslims and Arabs,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, several Hajj-related hashtags have been trending in the past few days, as Muslims from all over the world circulated pictures and videos captured during the season while lauding the Saudi government’s efforts in making this year’s Hajj a success.
The #CustodianOfTheTwo-HolyMosques hashtag was mentioned in more than 23 million tweets, according to Sky News Arabia.
The second hashtag on the list was #SaudiArabia-WelcomesTheWorld, which was trending even before the Hajj season started, where it received 17 million interactions and tweets within just two days.
Muslims who perform hajj properly return to their homes having all their sins washed away as promised by Prophet Muhammad.
Every year, Makkah sees millions of Muslims from around the world pouring to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj’s ceremonies are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.