Hajj pilgrims move to the plains of Arafat for prayers

After a beautiful day in Mina, the pilgrims moved on to the plains of Arafat, the most important aspect of the Hajj.

Huge crowds of dressed Muslim pilgrims prayed at Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

This year’s Hajj pilgrimage is the largest since the Covid-19 pandemic led to a sharp decline in the number of pilgrims for two years in a row.

Groups of worshipers, many of whom hold umbrellas to protect themselves from the scorching 40-degree temperatures.

While many remained in their tents, others recited verses from the Qur’an on a rocky outcrop called Jabal Rahma or Mount of Mercy.

It was here that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) delivered his last sermon.

This year, about 850,000 people from abroad perform the Hajj, including 1,132 South Africans.

Akil Osmani from Lenasia told Citizen he will engage in deep prayer for Muslims around the world.

“Arafa is very overwhelming and warming given that we have just emerged from the pandemic and are now interacting with nationalities around the world.”

ALSO READ: Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah fires CEO for lack of service for pilgrims

“Another pilgrim said that the time spent in Arafat is a test from Allah.

“Arafat was seething immediately after the prayer. The air conditioners didn’t work and we really felt the heat. But no one in our tent complained and knew that this was only a test from Allah.”

“My request to the Almighty is to invite more guests to the Kingdom. There are over a billion Muslims in the world, and only one million are here for the Hajj. I wish there were more of them,” the pilgrim said.

After sunset, they will walk the short distance to Muzdalifah, where they will sleep under the stars before performing the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ceremony on Saturday.

After the stoning ritual, the pilgrims will return to the Haram in Mecca to make the last “tawaf” or circumambulate the sacred Kaaba.

Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, which begins on Saturday, marks the end of the Hajj.

Meanwhile, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, Emir of Mecca and adviser to the Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques, said that on Tarwiya, Thursday, the first day of the Hajj, no epidemic diseases were reported among the Hajj pilgrims.

Al-Faisal expressed his gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for the material and human opportunities that have been given to pilgrims to perform their rituals in ease and tranquility.

“Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus over the past two years, the Kingdom has not stopped the annual pilgrimage and Muslims have performed rituals in limited numbers with a high level of precaution.”

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal thanked everyone involved in serving the pilgrims, especially the volunteers who have set a unique example of serving the guests of Allah.