Top 5 Most Deadly Incidents in the history of Hajj

By now almost everyone knows about the Mina Stampede which took place on Sep 24, 2015 and caused the death of more than 1,000 people and left 861 injured. It was a very painful incident which took place on the day of Eid (Day of Happiness for Muslims). We have seen dead bodies lying down the ground all over the places. This is something which left all Muslim ummah in great grief. It was a deadly Hajj incident but to my greatest surprise, it is not the deadliest Hajj incident in the history of Hajj. Today I am going to write about the top 5 most deadly hajj incidents in the 4000 years of Hajj.

It is also important for all of us to understand that during Hajj, around 3 million people got together at one place. It is the biggest gathering of human beings at one place in all around the world. Saudi Government spends billions of dollars from their pocket and makes every possible arrangement to help and facilitate pilgrims. Even with all kind of measures taken by the government, still, this kind of incidents take place. I can just say that if Allah’s has written someone’s death at Holy Site, is there anyone to stop it? I also believe that no one can make Hajj arrangements better than Saudi Government.

1,426 People died in Hajj Incident – 1990: It was the morning of July 02, 1990. Incident took place when pilgrims were going towards Jamarat for stoning the devil ritual. It was 44C outside and 7 pilgrims fell from a bridge. It created trouble among other pilgrims. The flow of the crowd going towards Jamarat stopped but pilgrims kept on coming from the backside. In a tunnel, which had a capacity of 1,000 pilgrims, there were around 5000 pilgrims there. In the meantime, the ventilation system of the tunnel stopped working which created a stampede. 1,426 people passed away that day which is still the deadliest incident. Recommended: Hajj Stampede Incident 1990 which took 1426 lives

Around 800 People Died in Mina Stampede -2015 – The incident took place when pilgrims of two streets of Mina were going for “stoning of the devil”.  Pilgrims of Street 204 and Street 223 were going towards Jamarat when they met each other at an intersection as you can see on the map. The streets look narrow on the map but they are very broad and can accommodate thousands of pilgrims. If anyone of you has experienced this crowd, you will agree with me that there are many moments when you walk without your will, because the crowd is moving towards that direction. You cannot change the direction of the crowd; you cannot move to even right or left. You can imagine how the stampede happen when these two crowds met each other from sideways pushing each other.

People were chanting Allah’s name while others were crying, including children and infants. People fell on the ground seeking help but there was no-one to give them a helping hand. Everybody seemed to be on their own. People were just climbing on top of others to move to a safer place and that’s how some people died. It is painful to even imagine. 1,000 died, more than 865 are injured. Read more about it in this link – How Hajj Stampede took 769 lives? What was the reason?

400 People were killed in a clash between Iranian Pilgrims and Saudi Security Forces: It was the 31st of July 1987, a Friday during the Hajj period which is considered extremely important. Iranian pilgrims started their campaign in the middle of extremely heightened security; this is because the Saudi Government believed explosives had been smuggled into the country by Iranians. The match was quite uneventful almost the complete route, however, things changed when they approached the final part of their designated tour. As the demonstrators reached the end of their route they found their route blocked by Saudi National Guard and Riot Police. This antagonized the demonstrators and they tried to move forward. While this was going on some unidentified individuals started throwing bricks and stones to the Saudi Security Forces. The commotion and the rioting cause a total of 402 deaths which included 85 Saudi security forces personnel, 42 pilgrims of other nations and 275 Iranians. This also resulted in 649 injuries too. Read more about it in this link – Insight of the 1987 Attack on Makkah by Irani Pilgrims

364 Pilgrims died during stoning the devil ritual – 2006: Another incident which took place while pilgrims were going to perform the rituals of “stoning the devil”. The cause of the incident was again the stampede which took lives of 364 pilgrims and 1000 were injured.

343 pilgrims died due to Fire in Mina Camps – 1997: It was April 16, 1997, when the fire erupted in Mina Camps. There was a strong wind that day due to which fire was fanned. On Estimated basis, around 70,000 tents were subject to fire that day. Around 343 pilgrims died due to heavy burn and stampede and 1290 were injured. Saudi government acted after that and now we have fire proof mina camps. Recommended: The Hajj Fire Tragedy 1997 – 300 pilgrims were burnt to Death.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.