More than two million white-clad Muslim pilgrims from around the globe have begun moving on Friday, August 9, to Mina on the first leg of their journey of a lifetime, preparing for the climax of Hajj when they ascend Mount `Arafat.
“It’s an indescribable feeling. You have to live it to understand it,” an Algerian in his fifties completing the pilgrimage for the first time told Agence France Presse (AFP).
“It’s a golden opportunity and moment,” said his female companion.
From early hours on Friday, more than two millions of pilgrims embarked on their slow and steady trek to Mina in the first leg of their five-day journey.
Spirituality and peace were in the air in the sprawling tent city which is surrounded by (Mountain of Light) and other hills, as more pilgrims poured in with every hour, each group reverberating with chants of “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik” (O God, here I am answering your call).
“We feel cleansed by achieving this pillar of Islam and meeting people from across the world. It’s marvelous,” said Mohamed Jaafar, a 40-year-old Egyptian pilgrim.
Once in their fireproof tents, masses of faithful, clad in the white ihram garb, busy themselves reciting the Noble Qur’an and praying.
Many try to catch some sleep — after a tiring journey from Makkah – as they ready for the climax of their ultimate spiritual experience.
On Saturday morning, the pilgrims will descend the Mount `Arafat where Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) delivered his last sermon more than 14 centuries ago.
The pilgrims then will return to Mina after spending the night in Muzdalifah.
They will take part in the symbolic stoning of the devil at Jamrat Al-Aqaba and sacrifice animals to mark the four-day `Eid Al-Adha, which starts Sunday.