The Hajj sermon delivered at Mount Arafat on Monday emphasised respectful behaviour and good character as the most important lessons of Islam.
More than two million Muslims from around the world scaled the rocky hill southeast of the holy city of Makkah to perform the pinnacle of Hajj. Mount Arafat is where Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) delivered his final sermon.
The imam of Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque, Sheikh Hussein bin Abdelaziz Al al-Sheikh, delivered the sermon.
“All prophets of God invited humanity to tauheed, and believing in it will be path of success,” he said. “Give respect and importance to your parents and teachers. Strengthen your relation with the Holy Quran,” he said. Islam forbids us from indulging in sins. It preaches harmony and brotherhood amongst Muslims.”
The pilgrims performed Zuhr and Asr prayers combined, and spent time in Arafat with prayers for acceptance of their pilgrimage and recitation of Quranic verses until sunset.
After sunset, the pilgrims headed to Muzdalifah, where they would stay until midnight, engaged in prayers after performing Maghreb and Isha prayers combined.
The ritual of changing Ghilaf-e-Kaaba was also held early Monday morning. The new Ghilaf was prepared at a cost of 200,000 Riyal. It comprises 670kg pure silk, 120kg gold and 100kg silver.
Imam Masjid-ul-Haram Dr Abd ur Rahman Assudais and Governor Makkah Khalid Faisal participated in the ritual.
Every Muslim is required to complete the Hajj journey to Islam’s holiest sites at least once in their lifetime if they are healthy enough and have the means to do so.
This year, the Saudis have launched a “smart Hajj” initiative, with apps to help pilgrims with everything from travel plans to medical care.
The interior ministry said on Saturday that the number of pilgrims arriving in Makkah had already surpassed the two million mark, mostly from abroad including large contingents from Egypt, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Pilgrims stood shoulder to shoulder for an emotional day of repentance and supplication at the site Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon, calling for equality and for Muslims to unite.
Muslims believe prayer on this day at Mount Arafat, about 20 kilometres east of the holy city of Makkah, is their best chance to erase past sins and start anew.
The five-day Haj represents one of the world’s biggest gatherings every year and is required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life.