JEDDAH: Hajj 2020 pilgrims arrived in Muzdalifah Thursday night to rest after spending the day in Arafat.
Earlier, the pilgrims scaled Mount Arafat to pray and repent, as a highly unusual Hajj approached its climax. They listened to a sermon delivered by Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manea and prayed Dhuhr and Asr prayers together at the Al-Namirah Mosque in Arafat.
This year’s pilgrimage is the smallest in modern times, after the number of participants was greatly restricted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Tight security was in place around the foot of the rocky hill outside Makkah, also known as Jabal Al-Rahma or Mount of Mercy, in preparation for the high point of the annual ritual.
Video footage shown on state television showed the pilgrims setting off on their climb to the summit. They wore face masks and observed strict social-distancing rules imposed by Saudi authorities.As sprinklers sprayed water on them to provide relief from the summer desert heat, the pilgrims raised their palms as they climbed the slopes of the hill — the site of Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon. When they reached the top they recited holy verses and prayed for forgiveness for their sins.
Earlier, the pilgrims were taken in buses from Mina to Mount Arafat. Strict precautionary measures were in place, with each group accompanied by security teams, ambulances and civil defense vehicles.
When they arrived, their temperatures were checked before they entered Namirah Mosque to hear a sermon that was translated into 10 languages.
“The camps were set up for pilgrims in Arafat early on,” said Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Salih Bentin. The sermon at Namirah Mosque was delivered by Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manea, who led the pilgrims in noon and afternoon prayers.
“During Hajj this year, we reiterate that it is essential for pilgrims, as well as everyone assisting them, to adhere to the precautionary regulations that have been implemented,” Al-Manea, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said during his sermon. “This is to be done for their own safety.
“Precautions have been put in place to protect lives against the damage that the pandemic can cause, and also to actualize Islam’s teachings pertaining to safeguarding human life by Allah’s permission.”
The stay in Arafat is described as the pinnacle of Hajj and Muslims around the world reflect the actions of pilgrims by asking for forgiveness and praying for their deepest desires.
Pilgrims left Arafat in coaches for Muzdalifah after sunset and will pray the Maghrib and Isha prayers there.
After sunset prayers, the pilgrims made their way down Mount Arafat to Muzdalifah, where they will spend the night before the final Hajj ritual, the symbolic stoning of the devil.
This year, each pilgrim received sanitized pebbles in advance of the event on Friday, which is the first day of Eid Al-Adha.
This year the Kingdom faced the unprecedented challenge of ensuring pilgrims attending Hajj were protected as much as possible from the risks of the coronavirus.
They will then sleep, pray the Fajr prayer there tomorrow and then leave for Mina.