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Does this image show dead bodies of 13 people who died during 2023 Hajj?

Viral image dates back to at least 2017

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Claim: A picture shows the dead bodies of 13 people who died during the 2023 Hajj.

Fact: The image dates back to at least 2017.

On 10 July 2023, Facebook user ‘Ahmad Raza’ posted (archive) an image of multiple dead bodies, lined up in white cloth, inside what appears to be the Kaaba, or the Grand Mosque of Saudi Arabia, with the following caption:

“حرمِ مكی میں 13 حجاج کرام کا اجتماعی جنازہ ھوا ، حالتِ احرام میں وفات پانے والے خوش نصیبوں کے سر اور چہرے کھلے ہوئے تھے
رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و آلہ وسلم کا فرمان ھے
جو حالت احرام میں فوت ھو ، اسے بیری کے پانی سے غسل اور دو  کپڑوں میں کفن دو، اسے خوشبو نہ لگاو اور نہ اس کا سر چھپاو، یہ بروز قیامت تلبیہ پڑھتے ہوئے اٹھےگا۔ (صحیح مسلم: 1206‎صَلَّی اللہُ عَلَیہِ وَآلہ وَسَلّم ♡
مجھے عشق ہے محمدﷺ سے
[The mass funeral of 13 pilgrims was held in the Haram-e-Makkah [Masjid al-Haram]; the heads and faces of the lucky ones who died while wearing the Ihram [white cloth worn during Hajj and Umrah] were uncovered.
It is the saying of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him): ‘If one dies in a state of [wearing] the Ihram, bathe them with water mixed with the leaves of a lote tree and shroud them in two (pieces of) cloth. Do not put perfume on them nor cover their head, for Allah will raise him on the Day of Resurrection performing the call of the pilgrimage (al-talbiyah).’ (Sahih Muslim: 1206)
I love Muhammad (peace be upon him)].”

Talbiyah is a devotional prayer recited by pilgrims with the belief that they intend to perform Hajj or Umrah only for the glory of God. Hajj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to the Kaaba; in 2023, it was commemorated on 26 and 27 June, or 8 and 9 Zil Hajj, the respective dates from the Islamic lunar calendar.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check ran the image through Google Lens and found it on a website called The Islamic Information, which published a report (archive) on 2 December 2019, titled “62 Hajj Pilgrims Died During Hajj 2019.”

According to The Islamic Information, “29 Hajj Pilgrims from Bangladesh, 28 from Turkey whereas 5 Hajj Pilgrims from Nigeria have died during Hajj 2019.” This is confirmed by reports in the Turkish media outlet Anadolu Agency (archive), Nigeria’s Premium Times (archive), Bangladesh’s The Daily Star (archive), and Philippines’ Manila Bulletin (archive).

We looked up incidents of death in the Kaaba after 2010 and found a stampede in September 2015 (archive) that left more than 2,000 people dead. Less than two weeks prior to that, a crane collapsed in the grand mosque on 11 September 2015 (archive), killing over a 100 people.

We then refined our search, using TinEye Image Reverse Search, which led us to the Arabic-language Saudi news outlet, صحيفة المواطن, which published its report (archive) titled “41 جنازة في المسجد الحرام منهم 13 بإحرامهم [41 funerals in the Sacred Mosque, of which 13 were held in Ihram]” on 4 September 2017. The article included the same image.

Soch Fact Check also came across two videos from 5 September 2017 (archive) and 15 September 2017 (archive) on YouTube channels MSA Productions and Haramain Khutbah, which carried the same visual as is in the viral post in question.

In 2023, The Jakarta Post carried (archive) an AFP wire story stating that over 200 people “died during the pilgrimage, according to numbers announced by various countries, which did not list causes of death”, but that officials in Saudi Arabia did not provide a death toll. These pilgrims did not die in one instance but over the course of the 2023 Hajj season.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis from 15 June 2023 to 9 August 2023, using the search terms “حرمِ مكی میں 13 حجاج کرام کا اجتماعی جنازہ ھوا”. We found close to 150 posts with over 83,000 interactions.

Moreover, two posts — here (archive) and here (archive) — gained significant traction on Facebook, with more than 28,000 and 34,000 reactions, respectively. They were shared over 2,200 and 2,500 times, with upwards of 600 and 1,100 comments, respectively.

On Twitter, three tweets — by users @SajidFb (archive), @law4all3 (archive), and @F_4199 (archive) — gained the highest traction, with more than 185,600, 55,200, and 31,200 views, respectively.

Conclusion: The image dates back to at least 2017.


Background image in cover photo: mohavic Otb


To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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1 month ago

[…] 57,500 views as of the time of writing. The user has also shared misleading content in the past investigated by Soch Fact […]

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12 days ago

[…] and here; the latter is a post by @SajidFb, who gained over 93,900 views as of writing time and has peddled multiple dubious claims that Soch Fact Check has debunked in the […]

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