On Saturday according to estimates by the Saudi authorities about 2.5 million Muslims were gathered on Mount Arafat, highlight the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which began the day without incident.
The pilgrims in white robes, a symbol of purity and equality before God, began at dawn the ascent of Mount Arafat, the “Mountain of Mercy,” about twenty miles east of Mecca, where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his last sermon 14 centuries ago in 632, three months before his death.
The last verses of the Koran, according to Muslim tradition, was revealed to Muhammad at that time. During the day on Mount Arafat, the faithful pray to God and ask forgiveness, as a prelude to the Day of Judgement. After sunset, they leave the mountain and win the next valley of Muzdalifah, where they pick up pebbles for the next phase of Hajj, the stoning of the devil represented by three stone pillars in Mina.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam (the profession of faith, prayer, alms, fasting during Ramadan) as a Muslim in good health and having the means to make at least once in his life.
Ahmed Garman, who came from Syria, said to pray “that we should be united and walk side by side” and hopes that “security is maintained in (his) country.” Badr Olgach from Turkey, is “very happy today.” “I’m very happy today. I can’t express my feelings,” said Badr Olgach, a 41-year old construction contractor from Turkey. “I wish and pray for the best, for all the Prophet Muhammad’s followers in the world,” said the father of two.