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Hajj1441 – Makkah women miss 70 years-old tradition due to pandemic

Makkah women gather at the Grand Mosque on the 9th of Dhulhijjah (the Arafat Day) when pilgrims and men in the holy city go to Arafat (about 20 kilometers from Makkah) to perform wuquf (silence while praying). (Saudi Gazette)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The 9th of Dhulhijjah is the time awaited by Makkah women.

At that time, which is the Day of Arafat, the pilgrims and the men of Makkah leave for the Arafat ground (about 20 kilometers from Makkah) to perform wuquf, which is being silent while praying from sunrise to sunset.

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Makkah men go to Arafat to accompany the hajj pilgrims while offering them various services.

At the same time, Makkah women go to the Grand Mosque to perform tawaf or circumambulation of the Kaaba seven times.

In addition to performing tawaf, Makkah women also have the opportunity to kiss Hajar Aswad (the black stone placed in one part of the Kaaba), perform prayers at Multazam (the area between Hajar Aswad and the Kaaba door), and break the fast in mataf (area for tawaf) freely.

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With the Grand Mosque being clear on the Day of Arafat, they can spend all day near the Kaaba, before returning to their homes.

However, the noble tradition that has lasted for 70 years should be skipped this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also reduced the number of hajj pilgrims to only 10,000 people.

Sameer Barqa, a researcher on the history of Makkah, said the Arafat Day began to be known among Makkah women as Al-Khaleef Day, which means one who stayed back (from hajj).

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“In the past, it was the tradition of all male members of the Makkah’s society to be fully involved in hajj activities and thus giving a rare opportunity for women to spend the blessed day in the most blessed place on earth,” he explained.

“When men went to the holy sites from the day of Tarwiyah (the 8th of Dhulhijjah), the first day of hajj, the holy city of Makkah would be empty of men and then the women would go out to guard the neighbourhoods also,” he said.

However, this year, the coronavirus prevented women from continuing this tradition as they were forced to stay at homes due to precautionary measures and preventive protocols.

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Reporting by Indonesia Window

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