MINA - Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims rushed to end the rituals of the annual hajj season by stoning the devil and making the farewell circumambulation around the Kaaba, as they prepared to return to their home countries.
It was a great experience, Um Hassan, an Iraqi pilgrim, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, October 28.
I hope I will be able to perform the Hajj again in the future, she added.
Um Hassan was one of the pilgrims who rushed to complete hajj rituals on Sunday.
Making the symbolic stone of devil in the final leg of the spiritual journey of hajj, she prepared to return to Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Wadaa, the farewell circumambulation around the Kaaba.
Though hajj officially ends on Monday, pilgrims who are in a hurry to conclude their journey can do so on Sunday.
"We will never experience anything better," said Rajab Ibrahim, a 42-year-old Egyptian who sat with fellow pilgrims under a colourful sheet stretched between two cars to shield them from the scorching sun.
"You feel internal peace here. You forget about everything else."
Muslims from around the world pour to Makkah every year to e perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which 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.
Muslims who perform hajj properly return to their homes having all their sins washed way as promised by Prophet Muhammad.
Over three million registered pilgrims took part in this year's hajj, based on official figures.
But many others also performed the pilgrimage without permits camping on roads and walking on foot between the holy sites.
As pilgrims concluded their spiritual life-time hajj rituals, Saudi authorities prepared for the annual mission of distributing of tons of meat of sacrificed animals to the poor.
"The new slaughtering houses in Muaisem, which were established at a cost of SR 2 billion, would enable the project to make use of the meat of all sacrificial animals, by distributing them among the poor in Makkah and charitable societies across the Kingdom, Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which supervises the project, told Arab News on Sunday.
A substantial portion of it will be sent to the poor in 27 countries.
Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon will also receive the meat.
During this hajj seasons, pilgrims purchased coupons for nearly one million sacrificial animals under IDB the sacrificial meat utilization project.
IDB president noted that 416,357 pilgrims have so far bought the coupons distributed by the bank to help them carry out various forms of sacrifices.
"We have also helped pilgrims to sacrifice 443 cows and camels," the IDB chief said.
The project intends to utilize meat of one million heads of sheep and 10,000 cows and camels during this Hajj season.
"This is a nonprofit Islamic service project," the president said.
The bank does not receive any money for this work.
A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during the four-day `Eid Al-Adha.
The ritual commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail to Allah as an act of obedience and submission.
The Udhiyah meat should be divided in three equal parts, one each for one's own family, friends and the poor.
It is permissible that someone in another country could perform the sacrifice on one's behalf.