Pilgrims were not given enough accommodation - Hajj Board

Haj pilgrimage

The number of Qatari pilgrims who have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj is almost 30 per cent higher than past year despite a political dispute that led to the severing of relations between the two countries.

Nada and Fida, two sisters from Syria, said they had dedicated their prayers to their home country, where more than 330,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since its civil war broke out in 2011.

After the Wuquf-e-Arafat, the pilgrims would move towards Muzdalafa and there they would perform remaining two prayers, Maghrib and Isha, together.

Delivering the pivotal sermon at Nimra mosque, the cleric encouraged Muslims to practice teachings of Islam in their lives, and refrain from misdeeds besides avoiding injustice and snatching rights of people.

"I came up here last night and prayed, took pictures and called my family and friends", said Maolana Yahia, 32, who made the trip from Indonesia.

Tens of thousands of air-conditioned tents have been set up in Mina, between Mount Arafat and Mecca, to house pilgrims.

He said the Saudi authority had reported the death of 500 pilgrims taking part in the ongoing Hajj, while the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria had also confirmed officially that five Nigerians were among those who died.

"This is the first time I see anything like this, ever", she said.

Helicopters flew around the area as the pilgrims converged from dawn on the Mount Arafat plain and the hill known as Jabal al-Rahma, or Mount of Mercy.

The Jamarat Bridge, where the ritual is held, was the scene of a stampede in 2015 that claimed the lives of almost 2,300 pilgrims - the worst disaster in the history of the hajj.

"The reasons they [the Saudi authorities] gave so far indicates that they are overwhelmed with the numbers coming from all the countries, therefore every country must adjust".

"They've taken more security measures otherwise we would not have come", he said.

As many as 1,564 pilgrims arrived from Qatar for this year, compared with 1,210 last year.

Doha angered Riyadh further in late July by criticising Saudi Arabia's provisions to enable Qatari pilgrims to perform Hajj despite the boycott of their country.

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