Wednesday, 19 December 2007
By Abdullah Al-Hariri and Adel Al-Malki
ARAFAT - Millions of Muslims - men, women, children, old and the infirm - spent the afternoon Tuesday in Arafat engrossed in prayers and supplication, marking the culmination of the five-day Haj rituals.
The Jabl Al-Rahma or Mount of Mercy, from whose foothills Prophet Muhammad delivered his last sermon, seemed to be draped in white as over-enthusiastic pilgrims climbed atop it. The 110,000-square-meter Namira Mosque and its 8,000-square-meter surrounding areas were completely filled with the pilgrims, who prayed a combined and shortened Dhuhr and Asar prayers in accordance with Prophet's teachings.
The prayer, attended by Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, was led by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Aal Al-Sheikh, who is also the Chairman of the Council of Senior Ulema and the Head of the Religious Researches and Ifta Department.
Delivering his Arafat sermon, the Grand Mufti warned the nation's youths against serving as a tool in the hands of the deviants to destroy their people and countries.
The Grand Mufti appealed to them not to use their country as a platform for executing their wicked designs and to sow discord.
He also urged Muslim leaders to fear Allah in dealing with their fellow countrymen and apply the Shariah in all the affairs of life.
He urged the Ulema to use their knowledge for the best interest of the Ummah.
Al-Sheikh called on Muslim preachers to enlighten their brothers - the pilgrims who came from all corners of the world - about the right principles of Islam, which advocate tolerance and moderation.
He also called upon the academics and teachers to adhere to the Islamic teachings when addressing their students.
Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah and the chief of the Central Haj Committee, followed up the pilgrims progress from Mina to Arafat.
He praised the efforts of the security forces and other government bodies who participated in transporting pilgrims to Arafat.
Unity of the Ummah was the top priority of many pilgrims, who included their parents in their prayers too.
"I have prayed for the victory of Muslims in all fields," Mohammed Yousuf, a Syrian pilgrim, told the Saudi Gazette.
Mohammed Jamal, a Bangladeshi living in Makkah, said he had come just to pray in the holy site.
Iraqi pilgrims took the opportunity to pray for their country and people.
"I prayed for my country and all Iraqis to live as brothers," Emad Hussain, an Iraqi pilgrim said.
Early on Monday morning, pilgrims left Mina to move 9-km southeast to Arafat, most arriving on feet. About 15,000 buses transported the pilgrims and most of them arrived before 9 a.m.
Motorcyclists took the opportunity to make a fast buck by charging between SR50-SR70.
All necessary services and facilities, including medical services, fresh water and foodstuffs, were available in Arafat.
Helicopters were hovering over the plains of Arafat to monitor the progress of the pilgrims while the security forces, traffic officials, civil defense and scouts were available to provide the pilgrims with all possible help.
Many trucks, parked by the sides of the roads, were distributing food and water free to pilgrims.
Pilgrims will be heading to Muzdalifah after sunset to camp overnight and collect pebbles for the stoning of the Jamrat in Mina.