Hajj Rituals Test Saudi Authorities

While more than a billion Muslims around the world celebrated Eid today, those gathered in the Al-Masha’er district of Saudi Arabia proceeded with their hajj rituals – throwing pebbles at vast pillars, shaving their heads and sacrificing animals.

Shaving the head, or halq, is a fundamental act for all male pilgrims during the pilgrimage: Muhammad is said to have prayed three times for men who removed all their hair and only once for those who trimmed it.

The slaughter of an animal – qurbani – marks Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at Allah’s command. The ministry of hajj proudly announced earlier this month that more than 100,000 Somali sheep were on hand to cover the high demand for sacrificial animals, adding to the 400,000 waiting in Jeddah and the extra million already being imported.


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