Tragic Heatwave in Mecca: 577 Hajj Pilgrims Die Due to Extreme Temperatures

550 Pilgrims Die During Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

During the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 550 pilgrims have died. The Hajj, which takes place from June 12th to June 19th, has seen a total of 577 pilgrim deaths so far. The cause is attributed to the extreme heat in Saudi Arabia, with temperatures in Mecca reaching 52 degrees Celsius.

According to The Guardian, among the deceased, 323 were Egyptian citizens, and 60 were from Jordan. Additionally, pilgrims from Iran, Indonesia, and Senegal have also died. Two Arab diplomats told AFP that the majority of the deaths were due to illnesses caused by the heat.

Saudi Arabia Begins Operation to Search for Missing Pilgrims

On Tuesday, Egypt’s Foreign Minister announced that they are coordinating with Saudi authorities to locate missing individuals lost during the operation. Saudi Arabia stated that nearly 2,000 pilgrims were managed due to heat-related ailments.

On June 17th, Mecca’s Grand Mosque registered a temperature of 51.8 degrees Celsius. Saudi officials stated that climate change is having a significant impact in Mecca, with average temperatures increasing by 0.4 degrees Celsius every ten years.

Last year, 240 people died while performing Hajj. Most were from Indonesia. Saudi Arabia advised all visitors to use umbrellas and recommended continuous hydration and sun protection.

However, most rituals of Hajj occur during the day, including the Arafat mountain’s prayers. Travelers often spend long periods outdoors. Many people are injured, and many people die. Ambulances frequently block the Haj route

Hajj Pilgrims Arriving in Saudi Arabia Without Visas

This year, approximately 1.8 million pilgrims have arrived for Hajj, with 1.6 million of them coming from other countries. Each year, thousands of pilgrims undertake Hajj without visas, mainly due to financial constraints, taking alternative routes to reach Mecca.

Saudi authorities informed the news agency AFP that the number of deaths among Egyptian pilgrims is higher, as many did not register for Hajj. At the beginning of this month, Saudi Arabia expelled thousands of unregistered pilgrims from Mecca.

The organization of Hajj is a matter of great reverence for the Saudi Arabian royal family. The King of Saudi Arabia is recognized as the custodian of two holy mosques.

What is Hajj?

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, considered obligatory for every Muslim to undertake at least once in their lifetime. According to traditions, in the year 628 AD, Prophet Muhammad led a journey with around 1,400 followers, marking the establishment of this pilgrimage. Hajj stems from the religious tradition of Prophet Ibrahim.

Every year, Muslims from around the world converge in Mecca, Saudi Arabia for Hajj. Hajj spans five days and concludes with Eid al-Adha. Saudi Arabia allocates quotas for Hajj for each country globally.

Indonesia has the largest quota, followed by Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Additionally, pilgrims arrive from countries like Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia, and several others. Pilgrims initially arrive in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from where they proceed to Mecca by bus.

The Five Stages of Hajj

  1. Ihram: When embarking on Hajj, all pilgrims don a special type of clothing called Ihram, which consists of unstitched white garments. Women are not required to wear Ihram.
  2. Umrah: Upon arrival in Mecca, pilgrims first perform Umrah. Umrah can be performed at any time of the year and is not obligatory during Hajj.
  3. Mina and Arafat Plains: Hajj begins on the 8th day of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah. On this day, Hajjis travel approximately 12 kilometers from Mecca to the city of Mina. The following day, they reach the plains of Arafat, where they stand in prayer and reflection, asking Allah for forgiveness. Later in the afternoon, they proceed to the city of Muzdalifah. On the 10th day, pilgrims return to Mina.
  4. Jamarat: After returning from Mina, all pilgrims gather at a specific location to throw pebbles at pillars symbolizing Satan. This ritual is called Jamarat.
  5. Eid-ul-Adha: At the conclusion of Hajj, pilgrims return to Mecca and perform Tawaf, circumambulating the Kaaba seven times. This marks the completion of Hajj. Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid-ul-Adha on the 12th day of the Islamic month, where sacrificial animals are offered.

These five stages outline the journey and rituals that every Hajj pilgrim undertakes during their sacred pilgrimage to Mecca.

Rahul Sharma

My name is Rahul Sharma. As a passionate writer and explorer, I'm always seeking inspiration in lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food & drink, and travel. With years of experience in the industry, I bring a unique perspective to my writing, blending my love for culture, style, and adventure.