The Hajj pilgrims headed to Mina on Tuesday, the first day of Eid al-Adha, after spending the night in Muzdalifah following their ascension of Mount Arafat.
At Mina, they will perform the symbolic stoning of the Devil.
After completing the ritual, they will return to Makkah to perform the Tawwaf al-Ifada and later the “Sa’ay”, or running or walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, located near the holy Kaaba.
The pilgrims will spend three days at Mina, known as the days of Tashreeq, for the stoning of the Devil.
Just 60,000 people, all citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia, have been selected to take part in this year’s Hajj, with foreign pilgrims again barred due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Saudi Health Ministry said Monday that no virus infections have been reported among the pilgrims.
Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Abdelali told a press briefing on the Hajj that so far, signs are reassuring about the safety and health of the pilgrims.
Dr. Bandar Balila, the imam and preacher of the Grand Mosque and a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, who delivered the noon prayer sermon at Arafat, praised the Saudi government’s measures which he said had prevented the Hajj from being “a site for the spread of disease and a focus of the epidemic”.
He also hailed Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, on their keenness on holding the Hajj and ensuring the safety and security of the pilgrims.
Authorities were intent on staging the ritual “in a healthy manner that meets the requirements of disease prevention and social distancing,” he said.
Security forces and service personnel have been deployed heavily throughout the holy sites to ensure that the pilgrims perform their rituals safely and within the necessary health regulations given the pandemic.
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the Kingdom on the measures it has taken to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.
“As the faithful gather to perform Hajj this year, we welcome the public health planning and steps Saudi Arabia has taken to ensure the safety of pilgrims and their communities during the COVID19 pandemic,” he said in a tweet.