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Hajj: “It was the most difficult Hajj”

Hajj: “It was the most difficult Hajj”

Karim Jag says the Hajj is a bit like the show of love his friends dragged him to in the 1990s. Just complete; And much more beautiful. But the Hajj affected him this year. “It was the hardest pilgrimage I've ever done,” Jag says. It was also one of the bloodiest events.

According to Saudi authorities, more than 1,300 people died while performing Hajj this year in Mecca due to the extremely hot weather. At times, the temperature reached 50 degrees in the shade on the plain in front of Mount Arafat, a hill-like place where millions of people gather to pray under the blazing sun. It was similar in the city MakkahYou can walk around the Kaaba in the inner courtyard of the Grand Mosque, or in Wadi Mina, where Satan is symbolically stoned with pebbles.

“I was also at my limit,” says Jag, the 59-year-old son of Turkish immigrants. “You walk out of the hotel and you feel your brain cells starting to boil. Your thinking stops.” Within a very short time, everything was wet and he was sweating “even his underwear.”

Shag sits in his living room in beautiful Neumünster, with pictures of Mecca and Medina on the wall behind him, and atlases and a globe on a shelf. Jag was familiar with Hajj matters, as it was his nineteenth Hajj. In theory, a Muslim should only go to Mecca once in his life (as long as he can afford it and is fit enough). Many people save up for a trip for decades, only embarking on it in old age when they are no longer well prepared for the hardships that come with it Saudi Arabia Waiting for her.

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Mecca pilgrim Kerem Çag (left) with his nephew Abdul Karim Yucel (right), the man in the middle is a childhood friend who is also performing the Hajj for the first time, 2024. © Private

“We walked about 200 kilometers in two weeks,” Jag says. This time, his nephew, a newcomer to the Hajj, and his friend Muhammad, who travels with him to Mecca every year, were counting their steps on their mobile phones and writing them down every evening. “We had bumblebees up our asses,” Jag says, but they weren't the norm either; Many stayed at the hotel until the evening hours.

During the day, when the sun is shining, you can walk around the Kaaba, the holiest site for Muslims, seven times in 20 minutes because there are relatively few pilgrims there. heat He wanted to comment. In the cooler evening hours, the inner courtyard of the Grand Mosque in Mecca is so crowded that one can hardly breathe; The tours took seven hours.