No fewer than two million pilgrims from around the world, including Nigeria, who arrived in Saudi Arabia for this year’s hajj, have converged on the plains of Arafat for the most important Islamic ritual.
From Tuesday’s wee hours, the pilgrims started moving to Muna from Makkah en route to Arafat Muzdalifah and back to Muna, signalling the hajj’s beginning.
The pilgrims are expected to be on the plains of Arafat for Dhuhr (Noon) and ASR (Afternoon) prayers to sunset supplicating, asking for Allah’s forgiveness, mercies, favours, blessings for self, fellow Muslims and guidance, peace, tranquillity, progress and stability for mankind.
Clerics would lead Nigerian pilgrims in prayers for peace, stability, progress and development of the Nigerian nation and for the country to overcome all its security, political and socio-economic challenges.
After sunset, the pilgrims will move to Muzdalifah, where they will pass the night before returning to Muna after the dawn prayer for the symbolic stoning of the devil (Jamrah).
Hospitals operated by the Saudi Ministry of Health in Arafat are ready to provide pilgrims with medical care.
The ministry said that more than 900 beds had been prepared in the four hospitals, fully equipped, to receive cases of sunstroke, heat exhaustion and other emergencies.