Makkah (Saudi Arabia) – No fewer than three million Muslims from across the world gathered Wednesday at the plain of Arafat to observe one of the obligatory aspect of this year’s Hajj.
The pilgrims, who gathered at the Holy City of Makkah for Hajj, spent a night at Mina before moving to the plain of Arafat for the worship.
The Saudi authority had announced that Arafat would hold on Wednesday, Sept. 23, following the sighting of Lunar month of Zul-Hajj on Sept. 14.
About 76,000 Nigerians are among the Muslims that arrived Arafat for the largest human gathering worldwide.
The Director-General, Department of Passports, Maj.-Gen. Solaiman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Yahya, said on Tuesday that 1,374,206 foreign pilgrims arrived for this year’s hajj.
He said 1,325,189 arrived by air, 36,094 by road and 12,923 arrived by sea.
Already, the Saudi authority had restricted movement of categories of vehicles to certain parts of the city to allow free flow of buses conveying the pilgrims to Arafat, where they are expected to stay from morning till Sunset.
Security personnel were deployed to strategic positions to ensure security and smooth movement of the faithful to Arafat.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the Arafat, a cleric, Malam Kabiru Yusuf Bakinruwa, said Arafat was one of the obligatory aspects of Hajj.
“If you miss it, you lose the entire Hajj, there is no ritual to correct it; the only way to correct it is to repeat the exercise the following year.
“It is the only day Almighty God is proud of the Muslim Ummah (those in Arafat).
“It is on this day that God will assemble the entire angels, show them the crowd of Muslims all dressed in white seeking for His forgiveness.
“These are my people, they came from far and near without considering dust, prostrating their heads on the ground looking for mercy and forgiveness, tell them that they are forgiven.’’
The pilgrims would move to Muzdalifat, where they will spend the night before proceeding to Jamarat (stoning site).
After stone throwing at Jamarat, the pilgrims would immediately move to Ka’aba for circumambulation and Tawaf. (NAN)