Over 2m Hajj pilgrims converge at Arafat as main rituals begin

MOUNT ARAFAT, Aug 10 (INP): Around two million pilgrims from around the world converged in Arafat on Saturday to perform the main ritual of Hajj “Waqoof-e-Arafat”.

Delivering Hajj sermon from Namira Mosque at Maidan-e-Arafat, Imam Al Sheikh Mohammad bin Hassan Al Shaikh called upon the Muslim Ummah to be kind toward others in day to day affairs to have blessings of Allah Almighty.

“Islam has preached for kindness in dealing with parents, children, relatives and other Muslims,” he said.

He further said Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has described the entire Muslim Ummah as a human body, signifying that pain in organ affects the entire body. “Muslims should eliminate hatred among themselves for having a better relationship of brotherhood and cooperation.”

The pilgrims after listening to the sermon will perform Zuhr and Asr prayers combined and spend time in Arafat with prayers for acceptance of their pilgrimage and recitation of Quranic verses until sunset.

After sunset, the pilgrims will head to Muzdalifah, where they will stay until midnight, engaged in prayers after performing Maghrib and Isha prayers combined.

The ritual of changing Ghilaf-e-Kaaba was held at night on Friday, at Masjid al-Haram in Saudi Arabia where millions of Muslims have gathered to perform Hajj.

The new Ghilaf was prepared at a cost of seven million Riyal. It comprises 670kg pure silk, 120kg gold and 100kg silver.

The covering cloth of the Kaaba, known as Kiswa, is changed on 9th Zilhaj every year on the day of Arafat.

The scale of the pilgrimage presents vast security and logistical challenges, with tens of thousands of safety officers deployed.

The Hajj, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, is one of Islam’s five pillars and must be undertaken by all Muslims with the means at least once in their lives.