x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The greatest journey on earth arrives at Mina

On the eighth day of Dhull-Hijja, known as the Day of Tarwiyah, pilgrims follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Mohammed and travel to Mina.

Egyptian pilgrims chant as they ride a bus from Mecca to Mount Arafat yesterday. Amr Nabil / AP Photo
Egyptian pilgrims chant as they ride a bus from Mecca to Mount Arafat yesterday. Amr Nabil / AP Photo

On the eighth day of Dhull-Hijja, known as the Day of Tarwiyah, pilgrims follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Mohammed and travel to Mina. Millions of pilgrims create a sea of white as they make their way by bus, car, or even foot, from Mecca to Mina, which is in the east of the city.

Some of the pilgrims travel the 10-kilometre distance through the 58 underground tunnels which are buried in the Mecca mountains. A further 400,000 travel by a newly-built electric railway.

For the journey, every man is required to wear the Ihram, the seamless two-piece white garment around the waist and torso, while the women cover everything apart from their faces and hands.

The emphasis of the Tarwiyah day, which is the first official day of Haj, is on prayer as the men and women gather in 45,000 large fire-resistant tents and spend the day and night in a state of spiritual contemplation as they prepare for the tough days ahead.

The Saudi Minister of Interior, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, said yesterday there were about 1.4 million pilgrims from outside the country who had traveled to undertake the Haj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Today the pilgrims will set off to Mount Arafat before dawn to mark the next stage of the holy journey.