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Muslim pilgrims gather at Mount Arafat for holiest day of Hajj

Muslims from across the globe have gathered at the sacred Mount Arafat near Mecca in Saudi Arabia, marking the holiest day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Known as the Hill of Mercy, this ritual is a poignant moment for pilgrims, who stand together, beseeching God for mercy, blessings, prosperity, and good health.

Thousands of worshippers made their way to the mount, situated about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Mecca, in the early morning darkness. On the slopes of the rocky hill and in the surrounding plains, many raised their hands in worship, tears streaming down their faces as they prayed.

Mount Arafat holds significant historical and religious importance as it is believed that Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon, known as the Farewell Sermon, at this location 1,435 years ago. In his speech, the Prophet emphasized equality and unity among Muslims.

Hajj, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, began on Friday as pilgrims moved from Mecca’s Grand Mosque to Mina, a desert plain nearby. This year’s pilgrimage occurs against the somber backdrop of ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip, casting a shadow over the sacred event.

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