Pilgrims throng Mount Arafat for peak of Hajj

Author: ARAB NEWSFri, 2017-09-01 02:04ID: 1504206025086599600MOUNT ARAFAT: Over two million pilgrims, from all corners of the world, converged on the plains of Arafat on Thursday to perform the most important ritual of Hajj — Wuqoof Al-Arafah.
Chanting “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik” (Here I am O Lord, answering your call), pilgrims sought blessings and mercy from God Almighty.
Standing at Mount Arafat in prayer before sunset on 9th Dul Hijjah is the high point of Hajj.
With temperatures pushing 40 degrees Celsius under the desert sun, the faithful climbed the hill east of Makkah where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave his last sermon some 14 centuries ago.
They gathered in prayer on Jabal Al-Rahma, or Mount of Mercy, for the second day of the Hajj — a five-day pilgrimage which all Muslims must perform at least once in their lifetime if physically and financially able.
Nada and Fida, two sisters from Syria, said they had dedicated their prayers to their home country, where more than 330,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since its civil war broke out in 2011.
“I want Syria to go back to the way it was before,” said Nada, 52.
“And for our youth to come back home,” added her 47-year-old sister.
At sunset, a sea of pilgrims clad in white made their way down the hill and headed to Muzdalifa to spend the night.
On Friday, they will move on to Mina before sunrise for the Hajj ritual of the symbolic “Stoning of the Devil.”
“I came up here last night and prayed, took pictures and called my family and friends,” said Maolana Yahia, 32, who made the trip from Indonesia.
Tunisian mother-of-three Fatima Arfawi said she was moved beyond words during the prayers on Mount Arafat.
“This is the first time I see anything like this, ever,” she said. “This day is dedicated to prayer for my three children and my family.”
In a hospital opposite the mountain, an area was set aside for people suffering dehydration or heat exhaustion.
Saudi Arabia’s Red Crescent said it had deployed 326 ambulances along the pilgrimage route to handle health emergencies.
“Some pilgrims, for example, forget to protect their heads with an umbrella when they pray,” said Bandar Al-Harthi, a nurse at a hospital facing Mount Arafat.
On Friday, the first day of the Eid Al-Adha holiday, all eyes will be on the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, where the stoning ritual is held.
Saudi Arabia says it has deployed more than 100,000 security personnel to keep pilgrims safe.
At the foot of Mount Arafat, mobile barriers had been installed to control the movement of the crowds.
Seated near the barriers, eight young women from Ghana who are all related took a brief respite after making their way from Mina.
Aged between 18 and 30, for some of them it was their first time away from home.
“This is the first time I leave Ghana,” said 25-year-old Khadija. “My husband let me come alone because it is Makkah.”
(With AFP)
Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Hajj 2017hajjMount ArafatMinaMakkahIslampilgrimagerelated_nodes: Over 2m flock to Mina as Hajj beginsHumanity in the heart of Saudi holy sites during HajjThis Hajj season, teach your kids about charity

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