At The Height Of The Hajj, Muslim Pilgrims Pray On Mount Arafat

At The Height Of The Hajj,

Muslim Pilgrims Pray On Mount Arafat

At The Height Of The Hajj, Muslim Pilgrims Pray On Mount Arafat

 

MOUNT ARAFAT, SAUDI ARABIA: On Friday, hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims

from all over the world raised their hands to heaven and prayed for forgiveness

on the sacred hill of Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia.

This intense day of worship is thought to be the most important part of the annual Hajj.

Many people stood shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet,

for the emotional day of prayer in the desert valley

where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon,

calling for equality and unity among Muslims.

The event made many pilgrims cry.

Muslims believe that praying on this day at Mount Arafat,

about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the holy city of Makkah,

is their best chance for salvation and spiritual renewal.

The pilgrims set out for Arafat before dawn, chanting as they walked.

They stay there until nightfall, thinking deeply and worshipping.

Faces Uncovered

Men wore unstitched white sheets of cloth that looked like a shroud,

while women wore conservative clothes and headscarves that left their faces uncovered.

The Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for all Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the trip.

It takes the faithful along the same path that the Prophet Muhammad took 1,400 years ago.

Strict pandemic limits had changed the event for the past two years,

effectively canceling one of the world’s biggest and most diverse gatherings and breaking

the hearts of many devout Muslims who had waited a lifetime to make the journey.

This year’s pilgrimage is the biggest one since the virus hit,

but the attendance of 1 million worshippers is still less than half of what it was before the virus.

All of the pilgrims chosen to perform the Hajj this year are under 65 years old

and have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Prophet Muhammad

Pilgrims spend five days doing a set of rituals that are connected to the Prophet Muhammad

and the prophets Ibrahim and Ismail, or Abraham and Ishmael in the Bible, who came before him.

The ceremonies started on Thursday with the circling of the Kaaba,

the black cube in the middle of Makkah’s Grand Mosque that Muslims all over the world face during their daily prayers.

pilgrims walk or take a bus to the stony desert of Muzdalifa at about dusk on Friday,

where they comb the region for pebbles to carry out the symbolic stoning of Satan.

When Ibrahim refused to accept God’s plan on Saturday,

Muslims believe that the devil sought to persuade him otherwise in the little village of Mina.

Stoning the devil represents the pilgrims’ triumph over temptation.

Rapidly growing groups often become trapped in the ritual. As recently as 2016,

a horrific stampede killed thousands of pilgrims.

Saudi government

However, the official death toll provided by the Saudi government is still unknown.

They have established a high-speed train link between holy sites as their most visible effort to boost accessibility.

Electronic gates allow pilgrims to enter the sanctuary.

As many as 100,000 police officers are on duty to keep order and prevent further unrest in the area.

Public health is a huge worry with so many people from so many different countries crowded together.

However, Saudi Arabia’s government lifted a mask mandate and other virus measures last month,

and the country’s health ministry nonetheless recommended that pilgrims consider donning

masks to help reduce the spread of coronaviruses.

To avoid heat exhaustion and death,

the ministry recommended pilgrims stay hydrated and be alert for the

indicators of heat exhaustion and death in the desert (105 degrees Fahrenheit).

After the Hajj, males are obliged to shave their heads and women to cut a strand of hair as a symbol of rebirth.

After the journey, Muslims over the world celebrate Eid Al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice.

Abraham’s willingness to offer up his son Ismail as a sacrifice to God is commemorated on this holy day.

Muslims traditionally butcher sheep and animals, distributing the meat to the needy, friends, and family members.

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