On Friday comes the highlight of Hajj 2022 i.e. ascending Mount Arafat where the Prophet (PBUH) delivered his last sermon. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims from around the world converged in Maidan-e-Arafat to perform the Rukn-e-Azam of Hajj “Waqoof-e-Arafat”, marking the climax of the Hajj.
The worshippers, capped at one million including 850,000 from abroad chosen by lottery, spent the night at camps in the valley of Mina, seven kilometers (four miles) from Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site.
The worshippers will stay all day at the site, praying and reciting the Quran. After sunset, they will head to Muzdalifah, halfway between Arafat and Mina, where they will sleep under the stars before performing the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ceremony on Saturday.
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The Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for all Muslims physically and financially able to make the journey. It is the life goal of man Muslims to perform Hajj at least once in their life.
Watch: #Muslim pilgrims descend on #SaudiArabia's Mount Arafat – a granite hill about 20 kilometers from the Kaaba in the Arafat plains – to participate in the most important ritual of the annual #Hajj pilgrimage.https://t.co/MG5mKIGBnl pic.twitter.com/zewdKsM7zg
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 8, 2022
Important to note this year’s Hajj is the biggest during the Covid era. The pandemic had forced countries to impose severe travel restrictions. Saudi Arabia had to downsize the Hajj.
In 2020, only 1000 pilgrims were allowed to perform the Hajj instead of the annual average of two million. Some 70% of the worshippers this year are foreign residents of Saudi Arabia, with the rest being Saudi nationals.
Meanwhile, in 2021, only 60,000 fully vaccinated citizens and residents of the kingdom were allowed to take part in the Hajj ritual. However, with Covid restrictions easing, over a million pilgrims were allowed to perform Hajj.
“The Day of Arafah”#Hajj2022 #HajjMubarak pic.twitter.com/HIUPw5g5BJ
— Aarish Ali Khan (@aarishkh) July 8, 2022
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On the other hand, Covid is once again rising. New COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia stayed above the 500-mark on Wednesday. COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom had been fluctuating between the 400-mark and 1000 during the past weeks.
As a result, all participants of Hajj 2022 were required to submit proof of full vaccination and negative PCR tests. Upon reaching Mina on Thursday, they were handed small bags containing masks and sanitizer.