Muslim pilgrims from around the world ascended the Mount Arafat on Tuesday to offer their prayers and supplications on the most significant day of the Hajj pilgrimage.

Worshippers crowded the rocky rise and surrounding area from before dawn on Tuesday and when the sun appeared, it revealed vast numbers of white-robed worshippers thronging the sacred site.

So far, more than 1.8 million pilgrims from around the world have gathered in and around Mecca for the hajj, and the number was growing as more pilgrims from inside Saudi Arabia joined, said a spokesperson for the Saudi Hajj Ministry, Ayedh al-Ghweinim.

Saudi authorities have said they expect this year to approach pre-Covid levels of more than 2 million.

This year, a maximum age limit has also been removed, giving thousands of elderly people the chance to attend.

High temperatures have been a constant challenge for the pilgrims, as the mercury hit 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) before midday on the hajj's most physically demanding day.

Thousands of health workers were on alert for cases of heat stroke and exhaustion.

Photo circulated on social media showcased tree-shaped water towers spraying cooling showers on the pilgrims, and free water bottles and snacks being handed out from large trucks.

Arafat Hajj pilgrimage
Pilgrims spend hours praying and reciting the Qur’an on Arafat and the surrounding area. Six field hospitals with more than 300 beds have been arranged in Mount Arafat, Yasser Bair, a Saudi defense ministry official, told the state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV After sunset, pilgrims will travel the short distance to Muzdalifah, halfway between Arafat and Mina, to sleep in the open air.

Later on Wednesday, they will gather pebbles and hurl them at three giant concrete walls in the symbolic 'stoning of the devil' ritual on the first day of Eid Al-Adha.

Then they will return to Mecca's Grand Mosque Islam's holiest site for a final circumambulation of the Kaaba.

Original Article Source: Al Manar | Published on Tuesday, 27 June 2023 14:01 (about 335 days ago)