Saudi Gazette – The valley of Mina on Wednesday appeared serene. The din and bustle of the first two days of Haj had almost died down as many pilgrims left Mina for Makkah and Madinah.
On Wednesday, the second day of Tashriq, the pilgrims who were in a hurry threw stones at the three walls symbolizing the Satan and proceeded to Makkah for Tawaf Al-Wada (farewell circumambulation).
The pilgrims who were not in a rush remained in Mina to stone the devil on Thursday and then proceeded to the Grand Mosque for Tawaf Al-Wada ending their five-day Haj rituals.
Pilgrims started arriving in Madinah on Wednesday evening.
The first Haj return flight from Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah will take off on Friday.
Director of the airport Muhammad Al-Fadil said as many as 2,091 flights by Saudi Arabian Airlines and 41 other international airlines will fly home about 500,000 pilgrims, an increase of 17 percent from last year’s flights.
Fadil said the last Haj flight will leave Madinah airport on Oct. 15.
The airport authorities in Jeddah and Madinah have already shipped sufficient quantities of Zamzam water for pilgrims to their home countries.
On arrival, each pilgrim will receive a container of the blessed water.
Before departure, pilgrims will receive copies of the Qur’an in their language in addition to other gifts.
Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is the chairman of the Central Haj Committee, reiterated that the Kingdom would never allow the fifth pillar of Islam to be used for political or sectarian purposes.
“Throughout its history, the Kingdom has never allowed Haj to be a political event with heinous agenda and is not ready to allow the politicization of the pilgrimage,” he said in a TV interview.
Meanwhile, the Saline Water Conversion Corporation and the National Water Company in a joint statement said that about 600,000 cubic meters of desalinated water was produced on Tuesday, of which more than 200,000 cubic meters was distributed in Mina.