Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Saudi Arabia Warned Pilgrims of “Above Average” Heat During Hajj 2024

As millions of Muslims worldwide get ready for Hajj 2024, Saudi Arabia has issued a warning about the extremely hot weather expected during this year’s pilgrimage. At a recent press conference, Ayman Ghulam, the chief of the Saudi National Meteorology Centre, announced that temperatures in the holy cities of Makkah and Madina will be higher than usual.

He stated that temperatures are expected to be one and a half to two degrees above normal, with the average maximum temperature likely reaching 44°C (111°F).

Ghulam also noted that there is almost no chance of rain during the pilgrimage, and humidity levels are expected to be around 25%. This means that pilgrims should be prepared for very dry and hot conditions throughout their journey.

Hajj, which starts on June 14 this year, is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a mandatory religious duty that every Muslim must undertake at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able. The pilgrimage involves a series of rites performed over four days in Makkah and its surrounding areas in western Saudi Arabia.

Last year, over 1.8 million Muslims participated in Hajj. However, the intense heat caused significant health issues, with more than 2,000 people suffering from heat stress due to temperatures soaring up to 48°C (118°F).

The actual number of heat-related illnesses, including heatstroke, exhaustion, cramps, and rashes, was likely much higher, as many cases went unreported.

To help pilgrims prepare, Saudi authorities are emphasizing the need to take precautions against the heat. They recommend that pilgrims stay hydrated, avoid direct sunlight as much as possible, and take frequent breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz told Geo News that the Islamic month of Zil Hajj is expected to begin on June 6. He explained that the moon is likely to be sighted on June 7, as it will be more than 26 hours old by that time. This marks the start of the countdown to Hajj, as the sighting of the moon determines the Islamic calendar dates.

Given the forecasted extreme heat, both Saudi and Pakistani authorities are advising pilgrims to prepare accordingly. This includes planning for hydration and heat management, understanding the risks of heat stress, and being aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

As the pilgrimage approaches, millions of Muslims around the world are finalizing their preparations. The warning from Saudi Arabia serves as a crucial reminder of the physical challenges that Hajj can present, especially in such extreme weather conditions. Pilgrims are encouraged to take all necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety during this sacred journey.

Despite the challenges posed by the heat, the spirit of Hajj remains strong. For many, this pilgrimage is a deeply spiritual and transformative experience. With careful preparation and the support of the Saudi authorities, pilgrims can look forward to completing their Hajj rites safely and successfully.

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