Seeking forgiveness from Allah, one million Muslim pilgrims ascended Mount Arafat, east of the holy city of Makkah, on Friday, July 8, in the climax of the biggest COVID-era hajj after spending a night of meditation and introspection in Mina.
Pilgrims flocked to `Arafat, also known as “Mount of Mercy”, from early morning, after spending a night in the tent city of Mina which marked the first leg of their five-day spiritual journey.
On the mountain, many of the worshippers wept as they prayed, and carried umbrellas in preparation for the high temperatures later in the day.
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“We can tolerate (the heat). We are here for the hajj. The more we tolerate, the more our pilgrimage is accepted,” Laila, a 64-year-old Iraqi pilgrim who gave only her first name, told Agence France Presse (AFP) in Makkah before reaching the mount.
Chanting “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik (Here I am answering Your call, O God),” the pilgrims took their way to `Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his last sermon 14 centuries ago.
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.
Pilgrims then will descend by train back to Muzdalifah, halfway between Arafat and Mina, where they will take part in the symbolic stoning of the devil at Jamrat Al-Aqaba and spend the night.
On Saturday, all pilgrims will 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 with all their sins washed away as promised by Prophet Muhammad.