- Title: SAUDI ARABIA: PILGRIMS PERFORM MAGREB PRAYER AT THE GRAND MOSQUE
- Date: 28th February 2001
- Summary: MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA (FEBRUARY 28, 2001) (REUTERS ACCESS ALL) 1. SV/CU/LV SIGN ABOVE ROAD INDICATING THAT THE ENTRANCE TO MECCA IS ONLY FOR MUSLIMS AND THE NON MUSLIMS SHOULD FIND ANOTHER WAY OUT OF MECCA (3 SHOTS) 0.15 2. SV OF PILGRIMS, WEARING WHITE CLOTHES, WALKING IN THE STREETS 0.21 3. LV PILGRIMS WALKING 0.25 4. SV/SLV MOSLEM WALKING IN STREET 0.36 5. SLV/SV/CU STALL SELLING PRAYER BEADS (3 SHOTS) 0.50 6. SV PILGRIMS LOOKING AT PRAYER BEADS 0.55 7. MCU (English) NIGERIAN PILGRIM, MBABI AUDI: "I'm here for me to perform one of the cardinal principles of Islam, that is to perform haj, if you are able to do so. And my point of view is I feel very happy to be here. That is why, if you can see, after performing my ritual, I went on to buy some gifts for my people, and this is specifically for my daughter, Fatima." 1.19 8. SLV MUSLIMS WALKING IN STREET 1.24 9. PAN OF PROFESSORS FROM DIFFERENT MUSLIM COUNTRIES ATTENDING A CEREMONY ABOUT HAJ 1.32 10. CU SAUDI MINISTER OF PILGRIMAGE, IYAD MADANI 1.38 11. SV PROFESSORS LEAVING 1.42 12. SV MADANI SURROUNDED BY JOURNALISTS 1.46 13. MCU (English) IYAD MADANI: "This year, we have completed the last stage of the fireproof tents in Mena which provides more comfort and, of course, more safety to all hajjis in Mena. We have also finished renewing the water network in Arafat, the fire fighting water network in Arafat as well." 2.15 14. SV MADANI LEAVING 2.20 MENA, SAUDI ARABIA (MARCH 1, 2001) (REUTERS ACCESS ALL) 15. PAN OF FIREPROOF TENTS CONSTRUCTED TO ENSURE A SAFE HAJ FOR PILGRIMS 2.28 16. TV OF TENTS 2.32 17. LV/SV/GV OF TENTS (4 SHOTS) 2.50 MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA (FEBRUARY 28, 2001) (REUTERS ACCESS ALL) 18. TV OF THOUSANDS OF PILGRIMS CIRCULATING AROUND THE KAABA IN THE GRAND MOSQUE FOR SUNSET PRAYERS 2.53 19. TV OF SITE OF PILGRIMAGE (3 SHOTS) 3.16 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 15th March 2001 12:00
- Location: MECCA AND MENA, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Reuters ID: LVA58EZ2XO1O8VPFCHQ91WL5MJ01
- Story Text: Nearly one million pilgrims from 100 countries perform
Magreb prayer (sunset prayer) at the Grand Mosque of Mecca, as
the Ministry of Haj completes preparations to ensure a safe
haj for some two million pilgrims.
Official statistics showed 1.3 million pilgrims had
arrived in the kingdom over the past few weeks to perform haj,
the fifth pillar of the Muslim faith. The number of pilgrims,
which may increase in the coming few days, is the highest ever
for those travelling by air, sea and land to Saudi Arabia in a
single haj season.
About half a million residents of Saudi Arabia are
expected to take part in the ritual this year.
The pilgrims will recreate symbolic actions taught by
Mohammad and performed by large numbers of Muslims every year
for the past 14 centuries to seek repentance, purification and
One Nigerian pilgrim, Mbabi Audi, told Reuters why he had
come to Mecca.
"I'm here...to perform one of the cardinal principles of
Islam, that is to perform haj...And my point of view is I feel
very happy to be here. That is why, if you can see, after
performing my ritual, I went on to buy some gifts for my
people, and this is specifically for my daughter, Fatima," he
With this year's vast crowd, Saudi Arabia faces a mammoth
task to avert any disasters or mishaps similar to those that
have killed hundreds of worshippers in previous years. The
authorities have spent nearly $200 million this year to
The Saudi minister of pilgrimage, Iyad Madani told Reuters
that all the preparations for pilgrims to perform haj were
He said the authorities had installed tens of thousands of
fireproof tents in camps on Mena and Arafat. Firefighting
installations in the area were also fully operational now.
Saudi Arabia grants haj visas to countries according to
strict quotas. But it has increased the numbers over the past
decade after multi-billion dollar plans led to the increasing
of the capacity of Mecca's Grand Mosque and facilities at
other pilgrimage sites.
Although the five-day pilgrimage will not officially start
until Saturday (March 3), hundreds of Muslims have already
taken part in religious festivities at the Grand Mosque. On
Wednesday (February 28), nearly a million pilgrims offered
Magreb prayer (sunset prayer) and circulated seven times
around the Kaaba.
Men in seamless white clothes and modestly dressed women
wearing veils circled the cube-shaped Kaaba in the heart of
the mosque as part of a mini pilgrimage, or Ummra, in a
prelude to the haj.
Pilgrims, who are described in the Koran as "guests of
God", were overcome by emotion. Hundreds lunged to touch the
Kaaba, while scores held on to its outside walls, weeping and
saying prayers, in the midst of a sea of worshippers.
Saudi security men at the Kaaba regularly told pilgrims to
keep moving to avoid any incidents.
The prayers ranged from the personal -- asking for health,
wealth or forgiveness for sins -- to the public: asking for
victory against the perceived enemies of Islam.
The Koran says the Kaaba is the oldest house of worship in
the world and that it was rebuilt by Abraham. When a
victorious Mohammad returned to Mecca after years of exile, he
entered the Kaaba and destroyed statues worshipped as gods by
his tribe before Islam.
He later performed haj for the only time during which he
gave his "farewell sermon" declaring that he had delivered
Muslims around the world turn in the direction of the
Kaaba during their daily prayers.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can afford the trip
must perform haj at least once in a lifetime. The other four
pillars of Islam are the declaration of belief in God and his
prophet, Mohammad, praying five times a day, fasting from dawn
to sunset every day during the month of Ramadan and giving a
percentage of personal wealth to the needy.
Many of the pilgrims have already travelled to the holy
city of Medina to visit the resting place of the prophet
before heading to Mecca. Both towns and their holy shrines are
off limits to non-Muslims. Road signs divert non Muslims to
routes around Mecca and Medina, while only Muslims are allowed
to go through the various checkpoints.
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