More than 2 million pilgrims complete journey to Mount Arafat for second day of Hajj

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Muslim pilgrims pray at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah, as the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage approaches on August 20, 2018. (AFP)
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Muslim pilgrims pray at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), as the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage approaches on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Mahad Mohamed)
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A child pilgrim appears to be enjoying the journey despite the scorching heat. (AN photo by Mahad Mohamed)
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Muslim pilgrims pray at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), as the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage approaches on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Mahad Mohamed)
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Muslim pilgrims leave after offering prayers at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah, on Arafat Day which is the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage early on August 20, 2018. (AFP)
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A child pilgrim gets a much-needed sprinkle of cold water amid the noon-day heat in the plains of Arafat on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah, on Arafat Day which is the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage early on August 20, 2018. (AFP)
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Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah, on Arafat Day which is the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage early on August 20, 2018. (AFP)
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Muslim pilgrims leave after offering prayers at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Muslim pilgrims leave after offering prayers at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Muslim pilgrims pray at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), as the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage approaches on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Muslim pilgrims leave after offering prayers at Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), on August 20, 2018. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Muslim pilgrims attend noon prayers outside the Namirah mosque on Arafat Mountain, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP)
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Hajj pilgrims dressed in seamless white robes signifying a state of purity took to the slopes of Mount Arafat, near Makkah, on Monday to pray and repent their sins, at the high point of the annual pilgrimage. (AN photo by Bashir Saleh)
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Arab News workers distributed 30,000 umbrellas to pilgrims, intended as protection from the sun, but they also came in useful during Sunday’s rain. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 21 August 2018
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More than 2 million pilgrims complete journey to Mount Arafat for second day of Hajj

  • Pilgrims spent the day praying and repenting and praying for personal strength in the future
  • On Tuesday, Muslims will observe the first day of Eid Al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the Hajj.

JEDDAH: Millions of pilgrims gathered on Monday on the plains of Mount Arafat to perform the pinnacle of the Hajj pilgrimage.
On Arafat pilgrims spent the day praying and repenting and praying for personal strength in the future.
It is the most important part of the Hajj pilgrimage, during which the Khutbah (sermon) of Hajj is narrated and Dhuhr and Asr prayers are offered together.
Buses could be seen parked around the hill as workers hurriedly picked up empty water bottles near a yellow sign that read “Arafat starts here” in both English and Arabic.
Carrying brightly colored umbrellas under the blazing sun, worshippers scaled the rocky hill southeast of the holy city of Makkah.

Arms raised, pilgrims repeated “There is no God but Allah” and “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).
“The feeling is indescribable,” said Umm Ahmad, 61, who made the journey from Egypt, told AFP.
This year almost 2.4 million Muslims, from every corner of the world, left Mina headed to Arafat. The pilgrims made the journey with ease the movement of traffic was smooth.
Traffic authorities, security personnel and staff from various government and private sector organizations, in addition to 4,000 Saudi scouts, have been deployed to assist and guide the pilgrims in several languages.
The Saudi leadership ordered authorities to provide more comfort, security and tranquility for pilgrims to complete their rituals.
Some of the pilgrims — men in white seamless garments and women in loose dresses — pushed elderly relatives in wheelchairs on the second day of the Hajj.
Jai Saleem, a 37-year-old Pakistani, said he cried when he and his wife arrived on Mount Arafat, where Muslims believe Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon.

 


“It feels great,” he said. “I have always seen this area, since my childhood, in photographs and on television.”

Pilgrims had spent the night in an encampment around the hill where they believe the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon.

Others praying in the nearby Mina area ascended in buses or on foot from before dawn, as security forces directed traffic and helicopters and surveillance drones hovered overhead.

Some pilgrims carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun as temperatures passed 40C after an evening of thunderstorms and high winds. 

Men and women from 165 countries gathered side by side, while soldiers handed out bottled water and some people snapped selfies.

Pakistani pilgrim Mohamed Forqan, 30, said it was a great day to be a Muslim. “Here in Arafat we feel that we are born today, asking Allah to forgive our sins,” he said.

Hilal Issa, 70, from Algeria, said he was praying for God to pardon all Muslims and save the Arab world from its afflictions.

“We know that it’s a difficult task,” said Amna Khan, a 35-year-old American Muslim pilgrim. “That’s why we are all here. We’re doing this to get closer to Allah, to be absolved.”

A hot wind blew across the rocky outcrop and the surrounding plain, and many pilgrims sipped from bottles of water throughout the day.

“I knew it would be a little hard to climb Mount Arafat,” said Nigerian pilgrim Saidou Boureima. “So I prepared for this challenge by working out. And God willing, we can see it through.”

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in their lifetime if they are healthy enough and have the means to do so.


 

Arafat includes an open plain and Mount Arafat, which is also called Jabal Al-Rahma (Mountain of Mercy), that is 300 meters wide and 70 meters high.

 

Arafat is surrounded by an arc of mountains and Wadi Arana and is located east of Makkah.

On Tuesday, Muslims will observe the first day of Eid Al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the Hajj. They traditionally slaughter sheep for the three-day festival, a tribute to the Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice of a lamb after God spared Ishmael, his son.

They will consume some of the meat and give the rest to poor people unable to buy food.

A new Kiswa, the cloth embroidered with verses from the Holy Qu’ran, was placed over the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in Makkah early on Monday, in a traditional ceremony that takes place on the same day each year. 

Pilgrims will return there to pray at the end of the Hajj.

 

 

 


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”