Two million pilgrims scale Mount Arafat for key Hajj rite

Faithful circumambulate the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Monday Yousuf Al Habsi  Oman Tribune

Faithful circumambulate the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Monday Yousuf Al Habsi Oman Tribune

The number of Qatari pilgrims who have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj is almost 30 per cent higher than past year despite a political dispute that led to the severing of relations between the two countries.

After the Wuquf-e-Arafat, the pilgrims would move towards Muzdalafa and there they would perform remaining two prayers, Maghrib and Isha, together.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuf Olaniyonu, Saraki said that Nigerians back home should join in the prayers on the Arafat Day as Muslims believe that wherever you are on this special day if you supplicate to the Almighty, he will answer the prayers.

Interestingly, he said, the Saudi Health Ministry has invited him to a meeting scheduled for next week to see how Nigeria's experience will assist in the realisation of the Kingdom's plan of computerising pilgrims health and medical matters while on Hajj or Umrah.

The pilgrims moved from Makkah to Mina on Wednesday, I went to Arafat this day very easily and all government agencies entrusted with the task of serving these holy lands did everything within their capacities, honesty and loyalty.

"Some pilgrims, for example, forget to protect their heads with an umbrella when they pray", said Bandar al-Harthi, a nurse at a hospital facing Mount Arafat.

"This is the first time I see anything like this, ever", she said.

The pilgrims spent the day in prayers and reciting the Qur'an.

In a hospital opposite the mountain, an area was set aside for people suffering dehydration or heat exhaustion.

As many as 1,564 pilgrims arrived from Qatar for this year, compared with 1,210 last year.

Saudi Arabia's Red Crescent said it had deployed 326 ambulances along the pilgrimage route to handle health emergencies. "That is the explanation the Saudi authorities have given to us and said every country must adjust to the present condition".

It was the scene of the 2015 stampede that claimed the lives of almost 2,300 pilgrims, the worst disaster in the history of the hajj.

Prince Khalid said Saudi Arabia has recruited more than 300,000 civil and military personnel to serve pilgrims this year.

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