The total number of pilgrims who have arrived in Makkah has now reached a total of 2,368,873 but final numbers to be announced later
From the early morning on the second day pilgrims leave Mina for Mount Arafat near Makkah, where they stand before God in contemplation, praying and asking for forgiveness of sins and listening to sermons
Pilgrims also perform the Sa’i rite of walking back and forth seven times betweenSafa and Marwah hills
At the sunset of the second day of Hajj pilgrims depart for Muzdalifah
MAKKAH, Saudi Arabia, August 20 (CIC) – Pilgrims from every corner of the globe marked the second day of Hajj on Monday, the high point of the Islamic major pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah, Islam’s holiest city. It is considered to be the largest annual religious gathering in the world.
According to the latest available Saudi government statistics from the General Authority for Statistics, the number of international and domestic pilgrims who arrived in Makkah by the 9th of Dhul Hijjah 1439 Hijri – corresponding to August 20, 2018 in the Gregorian calendar — has reached a total of 2,368,873, of whom 237,160 pilgrims are Saudis or residents of the Kingdom. The numbers have already surpassed last year’s, when more than 2.35 million pilgrims performed Hajj.
It was a sea of white at Mount Arafat on Monday. After a night of heavy rains Sunday night, the multitudes of pilgrims, donning Ihram white special garments for men, started as of sunrise on Monday to move to Arafat to stand there, in a great spectacle. Hajj officially started on the evening of 8th of Dhul Hijjah and lasts until the 12th but some pilgrims still perform Hajj on the 13th of the same Islamic month, corresponding to Friday August 24th, 2018.
STANDING BEFORE GOD
“Hajj is Arafat,” is a well-known Hadith of Prophet Muhammed signifying that standing in Arafat is an essential part of Hajj, and scholars have interpreted the saying as meaning ‘Whoever misses the standing (in Arafat) has missed Hajj’.
On the second day, the pilgrims perform the Sa’i, the key rite of walking back and forth seven times between Safa and Marwah hills near Kabaa in the Haram. The second day is known asYaum Arafa, as pilgrims leave Mina for Mount Arafat (also known as Arafa), where they must arrive before noon.
Once at Mount Arafat – where Prophet Mohammed delivered his last sermon in 632 CE – the pilgrims stood in contemplation, praying and asking God for forgiveness of their sins and listening to clerics delivering sermons near Jabal Al-Rahmah. Known as “standing before God,” this segment of the second day’s ritual is one of the most solemn of the pilgrimage.
The pilgrims also performed the noon and afternoon (Asr) prayers combined at Masjid Namirahin Arafat which marks the location where Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) camped before delivering his final sermon.
The prayers were attended by Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Governor of Makkah Region; andSheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, the Kingdom’s Grand Mufti and President of Council of Senior Scholars and General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta. Imam and Preacher of the Prophet’s Holy Mosque, Dr. Hussein bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Alsheikh delivered Arafat sermon.
After the sun sets on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah the multitude of pilgrims head to another Holy Site,Muzdalifah, where they spend the evening praying and sleeping on the ground under the open sky, and gather small stones or pebbles to be used in the symbolic ritual of stoning the devil on the third day of Hajj.
On the first day of Hajj on Sunday, pilgrims recited prayers and asked God for acceptance and forgiveness and flocked from Makkah to Mina to spend the first day of Hajj – known as Yaum Al Tarwiyah. Pilgrims perform rituals such as donning Ihram, or the special white garments for men signifying purity and equality, declaring their intention to perform the major pilgrimage; walking seven times counterclockwise around the Kaaba, at a rate of 107,000 pilgrims per hour, and most of them leave for Mina and stay overnight.
Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is the most important spiritual journey in a Muslim’s life.
Saudi authorities are expected to announce the final numbers of pilgrims on Monday night. The biggest contingents are from Egypt, Iran, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen, Sudan and Jordan, among others.
Welcoming pilgrims from Iran and Qatar, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also Chairman of Hajj Central Committee, said at a press conference in Makkah on Sunday evening that 86,000 pilgrims have arrived from Iran and 300 from Qatar, noting the numbers for both countries are expected to rise.
Prince Khalid said the Development Commission of Makkah Al Mukarramah and Mashaaer (DCOMM) had executed 10 projects in the Holy Sites. The projects included expanding roads, painting crosswalks, and other projects separating the routes of pedestrians from those of the buses, in addition to ensuring the readiness of the train serving the Holy Sites. Meanwhile, more than 1.8 million pilgrims will be transported by 18,000 buses.
The movement of pilgrims between the Holy Sites, especially on the climactic day on Monday, is a major logistical challenge that the Kingdom successfully undertakes every year. During Arafat Day, the more than two million pilgrims cram into an area that is about 33 square kilometers in area.
Prince Khalid said during the press conference, “Thanks be to God, the world started to recognize that Saudi Arabia has the administrative, political, technical and financial capabilities to make this journey of faith a gratifying one for the pilgrims.”