Millions of Muslims ascend Mount of Mercy on second day of Hajj pilgrimage

Millions of Muslims ascend Mount of Mercy on second day of Hajj pilgrimage
The second day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage saw some two million pilgrims gather on the Mount of Mercy and surrounding plain of Arafat on Thursday.
3 min read
31 August, 2017

Saudi - Mount Arafat

Millions of Muslim pilgrims ascended onto the Mount of Mercy on Thursday, on the second day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia​.

Pilgrims from around the world gathered on the hill – known in Arabic as Jabal al-Rahma – and the surrounding Mount Arafat plain to pray, supplicate and read the Quran.

Dressed in white, the pilgrims could be seen climbing up the sides of the hill and taking up positions to pray on rocks already heated by the morning sun.

On the concrete pathways linking the plain to the hill, they invoked God as they walked with their palms facing the sky.

Others rested in makeshift tents or on sheets along the side of the road amid empty bottles and waste.

The ritual, which sees more than two millions stand at the mount until sunset on the ninth day of the Islamic calendar month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, is regarded to be the epitome of the Hajj pilgrimage and emulates the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammed.

See in pictures: Millions ascend Mount Arafat on second day of Hajj

Hajj in numbers:

- More than two million pilgrims are taking part this year.

- More than 100,000 security personnel have been mobilised to keep pilgrims safe.

- Some 17,000 civil defence employees backed by 3,000 vehicles are also helping with security.

- Thousands of security cameras have been set up along the pilgrimage route, according to a civil defence spokesman.

- Tens of thousands of air-conditioned tents have been set up in Mina, between Mount Arafat and Mecca, to house pilgrims.

- The Saudi Red Crescent has mobilised 2,468 employees and 500 volunteers, who will work with 326 ambulances and eight helicopters.

- More than 700 Saudi cooks have been recruited to feed the faithful

Arafat is the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammed gave his last sermon about 14 centuries ago after leading his followers on the pilgrimage.

The move to the plain of Arafat came after a night in Mina, where millions of Muslims spent the night worshipping in tents.

In the evening, the pilgrims will travel to Muzdalifa where they will stay the night before taking part in a symbolic stoning of the devil the next morning.

Read also: Why the world needs Islam's Day of Arafat. Now. 

This year, the first day of the pilgrimage began on August 30 and ends on September 4. All Muslims are required to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetimes if they have the means to do so, completing one of the pillars of Islam. 

This year sees pilgrims from Iran return after a hiatus following a diplomatic spat between the Islamic republic and Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia. 

Saudi authorities have mobilised vast resources in hope of avoiding a repeat of a deadly 2015 stampede that left nearly 2,300 people dead, and remain ready to deal with any similar situation this year.

Interior ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki said more than 100,000 security personnel had been deployed at various sites along the Hajj route.