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Saudi Arabia: Hajj pilgrims head to Mount Arafat for most important ritual

Muslim pilgrims arrived to Mount Arafat – a granite hill about 20 kilometers from the Kaaba in the Arafat plains – to participate in the most important part of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The Day of Arafat marks the second day of Hajj, when believers make their way to the mountain where Adam and Eve first met again after they were sent to Earth and where the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon.

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Each group of pilgrims, led by a health worker, made their way to the Nimra Mosque on the grounds of Arafat while maintaining social distancing measures and wearing a mask.

The pilgrims then listened to a sermon by Sheikh Abdullah bin Manea, who thanked Muslims across the world for their adherence to precautionary measures and their response to the limited Hajj season this year.

“We thank the positive role of all Muslims in responding to the country’s measures to protect them from the spread of the pandemic by imposing measures that ensure the protection of Mecca and Medina,” he said.

Following the sermon, the pilgrims will spend the day praying on the mountain to pray, where camps have been set up.

They will then head to Muzdalifah tonight, where they will be given pebbles – which have already been packaged and sterilized for each pilgrim – for the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual.

On Friday, the pilgrims will then perform the final stages of Hajj until August 2, which coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday.

This year’s Hajj was only open to a limited number of people due to the coronavirus pandemic. Seventy percent of the pilgrims were non-Saudi Arabians residing in the Kingdom and 30 percent were Saudi Arabians.

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The nationals who performed Hajj are healthcare workers and security forces who have recovered from the virus, as a way to show appreciation for their efforts in the Kingdom’s continued fight against the novel coronavirus.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia: Hajj pilgrims in good health, no coronavirus cases among them so far

Coronavirus: Hajj pilgrims embark on first day of rituals amid COVID-19 measures