Arafat cemetery opens to relatives of deceased Hajis

Some pilgrims returned to Arafat on Wednesday to visit their loved ones who died during the Haj over the past few years.

Muslim hajj pilgrims perform noon prayers at the Namira mosque near Mount Arafat, in this October 14, 2013 photo. (AFP)

Muslim hajj pilgrims perform noon prayers at the Namira mosque near Mount Arafat, in this October 14, 2013 photo. (AFP)

The undated cemetery is only open one day a year to bury the bodies of those who died while performing the holy rituals. Many do not know that the cemetery exists, even those living nearby. The cemetery is next to Arafat General Hospital.

Osama Zaytoun, head of the media and publishing unit at Makkah Mayoralty, said the cemetery only opens one day a year. He said 18 pilgrims are buried there, from India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Thailand, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Located on a 2,500-square-meter area, it has room for 300 graves.

Little is known about the cemetery, said Fawaz Aldhas, a historian at the University of Umm Al-Qura. He said scholars would soon begin gathering information on the graveyard.

Adnan Ahmed Al-Hamoud, who compiles statistics on deaths at the Foundation of Arab States, said that seven Arab pilgrims died at Arafat this year, from Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Somalia, Egypt and Morocco.

These people died of natural causes, with the authorities sorting out all the paperwork, he said.

A group of pilgrims spent some time praying at the cemetery. Pilgrim Ahmed Rashid said he came to say a prayer for a few of his relatives who died over the past few years on Arafat. He had planned to visit the graveyard this year after the Haj.

SOURCE: ARABNEWS.COM

Categories: Arab World, Asia, Saudi Arabia

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