In Pictures: Two million pilgrims scale Mount Arafat for key Hajj rite

World

MINA, Saudi Arabia - Around two million pilgrims in Mina are preparing to move in a few hours up mount Arafat following in the footsteps of noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to perform one of the key pillars of the Hajj. The pilgrims will stand at mount Arafat until sunset.

Calm and tranquility characterized the pilgrims’ move to Mina site. The calls for praising Allah could be heard as they performed their prayers during the first night in Mina.

Pilgrims went to Mina to spend the day of “tarweya” on Thursday, the eighth of Dhu al-Hijjah, in preparation for the climb of mount Arafat at dawn to perform the most important stage of Hajj, which is to stand all day by the mountain and pray to god.

The Saudi authorities announced on Tuesday that more than two million pilgrims arrived this year and were well received with optimum preparations for Hajj by the Saudi authorities to ensure their safety and create comfortable conditions for them to perform the rituals with ease.

More than 100,000 security personnel have been mobilised to keep pilgrims safe, the Saudi interior ministry says. Some 17,000 civil defence employees backed by 3,000 vehicles are also helping with security.

Thousands of security cameras have been set up along the pilgrimage route, according to a civil defence spokesman. Tens of thousands of air-conditioned tents have been set up in Mina, between Mount Arafat and Mecca, to house pilgrims.

The Saudi Red Crescent has mobilised 2,468 employees and 500 volunteers, who will work with 326 ambulances and eight helicopters. More than 700 Saudi cooks have been recruited to feed the faithful, Arab News reported.

Saudi Arabia hopes to welcome 30 million pilgrims annually in the kingdom by 2030, the Saudi Gazette said, up from the current 8 million.

[Source: Al Arabiya / Times Now News]