By Kazeem Awojoodu, Ibadan
Pilgrims from Oyo State have headed to Mina in commencement of some important Hajj rites.
The pilgrims, numbering 641, left for Mina at 3:23 am Nigerian time.
Mina, a valley which lies about eight kilometres south east of Mecca, is often referred to as a city of tents because of the massive presence of over 100,000 air-conditioned tents housing millions of pilgrims from all walks of life.
According to reports, the tents accommodating Oyo pilgrims in the hot desert city are equipped with over 900 air-conditioners.
While at Mina, the pilgrims are expected to perform the symbolic throwing of stones at the Devil between sunrise and sunset, in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s stoning of Satan who tried to discourage him from sacrificing his son in fulfilment of his vow to Allah.
It is from Mina that the pilgrims will converge on Mount Arafat, a very important rite of Hajj exercise.
In Islamic tradition, Hajj exercise is incomplete without the climbing of Mount Arafat.
The pilgrims from Oyo State presently in Mina include the Head of Service Alhaja Hamdalat Agboola, State Commissioner for Information, Cultures and Tourism Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning Professor Babatunde Musbaudeen, his counterpart in the Ministry of Education Barrister Abdul Rahman Abdul Raheem as well as the Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Islamic Affairs Alhaji Abdul-Rasheed Abdul-Azeez.
Others are the Vice Chairman of the State Pilgrims Welfare (Board Muslim’s Wing) Dr Ibrahim Adebolu and the Board’s Secretary Alhaja Olanipekun.