AFP: Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims crowded Saudi Arabia’s Mount Arafat yesterday, the climax of a potentially record-breaking hajj pilgrimage held in fierce summer heat.
As dawn broke, groups of worshippers recited Koran verses on the rocky rise, where the Prophet Mohammed is believed to have given his final sermon. The ritual is the high point of the annual pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, that officials say could be the biggest on record after three years of Covid restrictions. More than 2.5 million pilgrims were expected to join the hajj, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings and a source of legitimacy for the oil-rich country’s royal rulers.
Temperatures soared to 46 degrees celsius (113 Fahrenheit) on Monday as robed worshippers shielded by umbrellas journeyed from Mecca to Mina, where they slept in a giant tented city before the rites at Mount Arafat. Egyptian schoolteacher Tasneem Gamal said she was emotionally overwhelmed to arrive at Arafat, whose rituals are a compulsory part of the pilgrimage.
Nayeemul Islam khan
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