By God's Mercy Alone: How Extreme Heat Made Hajj a Death March for 1,300 Pilgrims

By God’s Mercy Alone: How Extreme Heat Made Hajj a Death March for 1,300 Pilgrims

The annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, is considered one of the five pillars of Islam and a sacred duty for all able-bodied Muslims. Every year, millions of pilgrims from around the world gather in Mecca to perform rituals that date back thousands of years.

However, in recent years, the Hajj has become increasingly dangerous due to overcrowding and extreme heat. This year, over 2 million pilgrims gathered for the Hajj amidst scorching temperatures reaching up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. And for 1,300 of them, the journey became a deadly death march.

The Tragic Events

As the Hajj drew to a close on the final day of Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest days in Islam, pilgrims began their procession towards Jamarat to perform the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual. However, this year, due to overcrowding and extreme heat, many pilgrims collapsed on their way.

According to Saudi authorities, over 1,300 pilgrims were severely affected by dehydration and exhaustion during this final ritual. Of those, at least 100 were critically ill and had to be hospitalized. Sadly, at least 11 pilgrims lost their lives due to the extreme conditions.

The Aftermath

As news of the tragic events spread, many questions were raised about the safety measures in place for such a large gathering. Critics pointed out that despite previous incidents and warnings about overcrowding and heatstroke during the Hajj, little has been done to improve conditions.

Some also criticized the lack of proper medical facilities and water stations along the route, which could have prevented some of these deaths. Others questioned whether there was adequate preparation for potential heatwaves, which are becoming more frequent in the region.

Survivors Speak Out

For many of the survivors, it was a miracle that they made it out alive. One pilgrim from Indonesia stated, “It was only by God’s mercy that I survived. The heat was unbearable and there wasn’t enough water or shade.” Another survivor from Egypt added, “I saw so many people collapsing around me. It was chaotic and terrifying.”

Survivors also shared their frustration at the lack of assistance from authorities during the ordeal. Many claimed that medical aid took too long to arrive and that there were not enough ambulances to transport the sick and injured.

A Call for Change

The tragic events at this year’s Hajj have sparked renewed calls for change and better safety measures. Many are urging Saudi authorities to invest more in improving infrastructure and providing adequate resources to handle such large gatherings.

There have also been calls for stricter regulations on the number of pilgrims allowed to participate in the Hajj, to prevent overcrowding and ensure the safety of all participants. The death toll may have been much higher if not for the quick intervention of medical teams on site.

As investigations into the incident continue, it is clear that urgent action must be taken to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. The Hajj is a sacred pilgrimage, and it is the responsibility of all involved to ensure the safety and well-being of all those who embark on this journey. May God’s mercy continue to protect and guide all pilgrims for years to come. So, let us take this lesson seriously so that we don’t repeat same mistake again.

  • Overcrowding and extreme heat have made the annual Hajj pilgrimage increasingly dangerous
  • This year, over 1,300 pilgrims collapsed due to dehydration and exhaustion during the final ritual
  • At least 11 pilgrims lost their lives, sparking calls for better safety measures
  • Survivors recount chaotic scenes and lack of assistance from authorities during the ordeal
  • Urgent action must be taken to prevent future tragedies at the Hajj pilgrimage.

Pilgrims should prioritize their health and well-being by staying hydrated, seeking shade, and being mindful of their physical limits in extreme conditions.

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Riyadh, holding a Master's in Media and Communication, is a versatile journalist at With expertise spanning finance, crime, local news, sports, technology, and business, Riyadh delivers insightful and timely news coverage across various genres.

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