WEB DESK: The annual ceremony of changing Ghilaf-e-Kaaba began early morning today in Saudi Arabia.The new Ghilaf has been prepared at a cost of 200,000 Riyal. It comprises 670kg pure silk, 120kg gold and 100kg silver.
The covering cloth of the Kaaba, known as Kiswa, is changed on 9th Zilhaj every year on the day of Arafat. The ceremony starts after Fajar prayer and continues until Asar prayer.
Imam Masjid-ul-Haram Dr Abd ur Rahman Assudais and Governor Makkah Khalid Faisal has participated in the ritual.
More than two million Muslims from around the globe started the hajj pilgrimage on Sunday in Saudi Arabia
Today, pilgrims will climb Mount Arafat for the climax of the hajj, where they listen to Hajj Sermon and then offer Namaz-e- Duhr and Namaz-e-Asar. This year, Hajj sermon will be delivered by Imam Sheikh Hasan Bin Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh of Masjid-e-Nabawi.
The prophet Mohammed delivered his final sermon from the rocky hill to Muslims who had accompanied him on his final hajj.
After sunset, pilgrims will head to Muzdalifah, halfway between Arafat and Mina, where they stay at least until midnight.
They’ll gather pebbles to perform the symbolic stoning of the devil on the eve of the Eid al-Adha feast.
Every Muslim is required to complete the hajj journey to Islam’s holiest sites at least once in their lifetime if they are healthy enough and have the means to do so.
Tens of thousands of security personnel have been deployed for the pilgrimage, which was struck by its worst ever disaster three years ago when around 2,300 worshippers were crushed to death in a stampede.
This year, the Saudis have launched a “smart hajj” initiative, with apps to help pilgrims with everything from travel plans to medical care.
The interior ministry said on Saturday that the number of pilgrims arriving in Mecca had already surpassed the two million mark, mostly from abroad including large contingents from Egypt, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.