MINA: Amid strict health measures, Hajj pilgrims flocked to Mount Arafat early Monday morning after converging in Mina for Tarwiyah, the eighth day of Dul Hijjah.
At the mosque of Namirah, they will perform combined and shortened Dhuhr and Asr prayers and attend the Hajj sermon, following the steps of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who delivered his last sermon on the ninth of the same month 10 years after he migrated from Makkah to Madinah.
Last year’s Hajj sermon focused on social solidarity and health precautions for protecting lives against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
After sunset, Hajj pilgrims will spend the night in Muzdalifah. Upon their arrival in the holy site, they will perform the Maghrib prayer, followed by a shortened Isha prayer.
Earlier in Mina, there were no major rituals during the Tarwiyah — the day of quenching — so the pilgrims spent their time praying and reflecting until Monday’s sunrise.
Mina, 7 km northeast of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, is the site of the world’s largest tent city, accommodating some 2.5 million pilgrims. However, Saudi Arabia is working on increasing the number of pilgrims that Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat can hold, under the country’s Vision 2030 reform plans.
Marking the beginning of the annual pilgrimage of Hajj on Sunday, a total of 60,000 pilgrims have started their lifetime spiritual journey by converging on the tent city of Mina since morning.
Chanting the talbiyah “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik (O God, here I am answering your call)…,” the men pilgrims, in seamless white ihram clothes and women pilgrims in abayas, streamed into the enormous tent city, located 7 km northeast of the Grand Mosque.
The tent city is reverberating with the talbiyah of pilgrims who make final preparations for their standing (wuqoof) on the plains of Arafat on Monday, marking the climax of Hajj. The Saudi authorities have readied a meticulously designed and flawless operation plan for the movement of pilgrims to Arafat.
The pilgrims, following the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), will spend today, called Tarwiyah Day, engaged in supplications for the expiation of their sins. They pray Dhuhr, Asr, Maghreb, and Isha shortening their four-unit prayers so as to make them two units each, without combining them. The pilgrims spend the night of the Tarwiyah Day in Mina. After performing the dawn (Fajr) prayer on Monday, Dhul Hijjah 9, pilgrims move toward Arafat chanting the talbiyah and takbeer (glorifying Allah). In Arafat, they offer Dhuhr and Asr prayers together at the time of Dhuhr, shortening each one into two units.
The Hajj pilgrims streamed out of the holy city of Makkah and into the Mina valley on Sunday, launching the rituals of the great pilgrimage which Saudi Arabia is holding in a scaled-down form for a second year.
Since Saturday, groups of pilgrims have been performing the “tawaf” at Makkah Grand Mosque, circling the Kaaba, a large cubic structure draped in golden-embroidered black cloth towards which Muslims around the world pray. After that, they have been making their way to Mina, where they will spend the night. Mina sits in a narrow valley surrounded by rocky mountains, some five kilometres (three miles) from the Grand Mosque, and is transformed each year into a vast encampment for pilgrims.