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323Over 2m faithful reach Mina

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  • World View <ummyakoub@yahoo.com>
    Feb 10, 2003
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      Over 2m faithful reach Mina


      By Syed Rashid Husain

      MINA, Feb 9: Haj 1423 Hijra has begun. The arrival by Sunday evening
      of more than two million faithful in this tented city of Mina,
      donning ihram and chanting talbiyah, marked the beginning of the Haj
      rites.

      Spread over the next five days, the Haj will reach its climax Monday
      when all the pilgrims will start moving after sunrise towards the
      mount of Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him)
      delivered his last sermon to his followers.

      Anyone present in Arafat today, even momentarily, with the intention
      of performing Haj, would be deemed to have performed the Haj.

      More than two million Muslims, from all over the globe, representing
      more than 170 countries, are present in the holy sites, taking part
      in the Haj and for most it is the fulfilment of a lifelong cherished
      dream.

      The kaleidoscope of colours, cultures, nationalities and backgrounds
      present today at the plains of Arafat represents the extraordinary
      diversity of Muslim Ummah.

      A number of dignitaries from all over the Islamic world, including
      former Bangladesh prime minister Hasina Wajed, and ministers from a
      number of countries are also performing Haj this year.

      More than 130,000 Pakistanis are also performing the Haj this year.
      After Indonesians, who number 200,000, Pakistanis are reported to be
      the second largest contingent taking part in the Haj. From India
      also, about 116,000 pilgrims have come this year.

      Quite like the previous year, when the Haj congregation had taken
      place in the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan, even this year the
      Haj is being held in a different atmosphere with a war looming large
      over Iraq. With general mood among the Muslims not approving of any
      war on another Muslim country, a sense of frustration and even
      defiance to some extent could be felt among the pilgrims.

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top18.htm&date=20030210


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