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2.5 mn Muslims to stand on Plains of Arafat today to mark key ritual of Hajj

The pilgrims, who spent last night in Mina, have already started moving towards Arafat

Saturday August 10, 2019 10:57 AM, ummid.com & Agencies

Arafat Day 2019

[Pilgrims arrive in Mina on the first day of Hajj. (Photo Huda Bashatah/Arab News)]

Hajj 2019: Some 2.5 million Muslims from over 150 countries of the world will today i.e. Saturday August 10, 2019 stand on the Plains of Mount Arafat to seek blessings and forgiveness from the Almighty Allah.

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and is obligatory on every Muslim who can afford travel and stay. It is performed to commemorate the sacrifices by Prophet Imrahim, his wife Hager and their noble son Prophet Ismael - peace be upon all of them.

Standing on The Plains of Arafat, called as Waqoof e Arafat, is the key ritual of Hajj performed every year in Dhul Hijjah - the last month of the Islamic Calendar.

The pilgrims, who spent last night in Mina, have already started moving towards Arafat where they will complete Dhuhr (noon prayer) and Asr (afternoon prayer) at Masjid e Namrah (Masjid Nimra), and also listen to the Arafat Sermon. The pilgrims will stay here supplicating the Almighty and asking Him for forgiveness and mercy until the sun sets. They will later move to Muzdalifah.

In Muzdalifah, pilgrims will offer Maghrib and Isha prayers, and spend the night sleeping on the ground beneath the open sky. In the morning, they will gather pebbles, which they will use in the stoning ritual on Sunday.

Golden Opportunity, Moment

“We feel cleansed by achieving this pillar of Islam and meeting people from across the world. It’s marvellous,” Mohamed Jaafar, a 40-year-old Egyptian pilgrim, told AFP.

“It’s an indescribable feeling. You have to live it to understand it,” said an Algerian in his fifties completing the pilgrimage for the first time.

“It’s a golden opportunity and moment,” said his female companion.

“It’s a pleasure and a blessing. We have been waiting our whole life for these moments. We are very satisfied so far and looking forward to the coming days", Mohammed Jameel of Pakistan said while talking to Arab News from Mina.

"We are praying for all the Muslims in the world who are suffering and are in trouble. We pray for all of them, and we pray for our families and our loved ones,” he said.

In total some 2.5 million Muslims, the majority from abroad, will undertake the pilgrimage this year, according to local media.

“More than 1.8 million visas were delivered online without the need for middlemen. It’s a success,” said Hajj ministry official Hatim bin Hassan Qadi.

Hajj 2019 Images

[Pilgrims arrive on the first day of Hajj in Mina on Friday, where they will worship and spend the night praying and resting ahead of traveling to Mount Arafat Saturday. (Photo: Essam Al-Ghalib/Arab News)]

Hajj - A Great Equalizer

Rahaf Niyazi, from Saudi Arabia, is also performing Hajj for the first time. “Everything we’ve seen so far is amazing, and it’s such a blessing to be here. It’s better than I ever imagined it could be,” she told Arab News.

Hajj is meant to be a great equalizer and unifier among Muslims, with pilgrims shedding overt displays of wealth and materialism.

All male pilgrims wear ihram (a two-piece seamless white cloth) and women don Islamic dress, forgoing makeup and perfume in an effort to draw closer to God and engage in intense worship for the five-day pilgrimage.

In the old days, many pilgrims from around the world would prepare for Hajj for years in advance, saving money for the complicated and expensive transportation that was available back then.

Zahid Hasan, an Indian national who used to work in reception at a hotel in Makkah, journeyed from his home country to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s to perform Hajj.

“In those days, the journey from Mumbai to Jeddah took 10 to 15 days,” he said.

“Al-Noor and Akbari were the only ships that took pilgrims from Mumbai to Jeddah. The total amount spent during the Hajj season by Hajjis from India might have taken five months to save. Now it takes one and a half months maximum", he said.

“Ships were the most common mode of transport from India to Saudi Arabia. There were flights available but only a small number of pilgrims used to travel by plane", he added.

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