MAKKAH: When Ali Ahad sprinkled water over the head of a middle-aged pilgrim who descended from Mount Arafat, the man kissed his forehead in gratitude.
The Pakistani volunteer was there to help as hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the world offered prayers of repentance on the sacred hill on Friday.
“Can there be anything more rewarding than this?” he told Arab News, as he handed a bottle of water to another pilgrim.
The Gujranwala native said he has been working as electrician at the Grand Mosque in Makkah for the past five years.
He is one of the hundreds of people from across the holy city who have been volunteering to stand in the sun to keep hydrated the pilgrims who arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj — a spiritual journey and one of the five pillars of Islam.
As in the shade the mercury hits over 42 degrees Celsius, Saudi authorities have installed thousands of water sprinklers to help the pilgrims cool.
But additional assistance is always needed as many pilgrims are not able to bear the heat.
“They are feeling extremely hot,” Ahad said. “I am very happy to be distributing water among them.”