THE HAGUE – The hajj, the largest pilgrimage in the world is on the verge of begin. From Sunday evening to Friday evening get the Saudi city of Mecca around the three million muslims from all parts of the world to visit, among whom were several thousands of pilgrims from the Netherlands.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is compulsory reading for every muslim who can afford to pay. You must make the pilgrimage once in your life. You have no money or camp you have health problems, then you may default and let it go.
The central Kaäba, the square building in the middle of the square of the Great Mosque that, according to islamic tradition, Adam would be built. In the Kaäba, the House of God, is the Black Stone, which would come from the Paradise.
Against the clock, seven times to Kaäba back
Pilgrims walk counter-clockwise seven times around Kaäba. There are more rituals. Travel so the pilgrims go to the plain of Mina where they spend the day in prayer and meditation. Also, the believers to mount Arafat, where the prophet Mohammed is his last sermon held. At the end of the week times, the pilgrims return to Mina, where seven throw stones at a stone pillar representing the devil symbolizes.
To participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca is not without risk. Two years ago there was a panic, and came, according to official figures 769 pilgrims to life. The non-official figures, went out of two thousand dead. In 2006, led to panic in the crowd to the death of over 350 people.
According to the ministry of Foreign Affairs travel estimated to be between 4000 and 5000 Dutch muslims for the hajj. The embassy in Riyadh and the ministry in the Hague to provide consular assistance if needed. “In the past several times occurred, for example in deaths”, let the ministry know.
The pilgrimage can get expensive quickly. A tour of the websites of the different travel providers lets see the prices between the 4400 and over 6,000 euro for two to three weeks in a five star hotel.
The website Health Services of the KLM gives the pilgrims tips on health and methods to maintain. So has Saudi Arabia vaccination against meningitis (meningitis) is required. The risk of infection with meningococcal disease during the pilgrimage greater, because there are a lot of people in large groups close to each other are gathered.
Foreign Affairs spends in the travel advice for Saudi Arabia special attention for the hajj.
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