Seeking Allah’s forgiveness, pilgrims ascended Mount Arafat, east of the holy city of Makkah, on Monday, July 19, in the climax of hajj amid strict health measures.
Pilgrims had flocked to `Arafat, also known as “Mount of Mercy”, since early morning, after spending a night of meditation and introspection in the tent city of Mina which marked the first leg of their five-day spiritual journey.
Chanting “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik (Here I am answering Your call, O God),” the pilgrims took their way to `Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) delivered his last sermon 14 centuries ago.
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Being one of the lucky few “gives you a feeling that our God is forgiving and has chosen us to be in this place,” Selma Mohamed Hegazi, a 45-year-old Egyptian, told Agence France Presse (AFP).
“God willing, our prayers will be accepted.”
“My whole body is shivering,” she told AFP as she stood among the other emotional pilgrims, wearing the ihram, the traditional seamless white garment worn during the hajj.
“To be one of only 60,000 doing hajj ….I feel like I am part of a (privileged) group that was able to reach this place,” said Baref Siraj, a 58-year-old Saudi national.
Following the lead of the Prophet’s Sunnah, the pilgrims performed noon and afternoon prayer “Dhuhr and Asr” combined and shortened at the Namera Mosque.
Pilgrims spend the day on the plains of `Arafat in the most essential pillar of hajj.
For the rest of the day, the pilgrims supplicate to God to forgive their sins and grant them mercy and pray for fellow Muslims, and for unity and peace around the world.
Later to Muzdalifah
Pilgrims then will descend by train back to Muzdalifah, halfway between Arafat and Mina, where they will take part in the symbolic gathering of pebbles for a ritual of stoning the devil at Jamrat Al-Aqaba.
On Tuesday, all pilgrims head back to Mina, where they will sacrifice animals to mark the beginning of the four-day `Eid Al-Adha.
Muslims who perform hajj properly return to their homes all their sins washed away as promised by Prophet Muhammad.
Every year, Makkah sees millions of Muslims from around the world pouring to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
A limited number of 60,000 people will perform Hajj this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Hajj’s ceremonies symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.