Imam of Hajj calls on Ummah to keep unity and harmony


–Millions ascend Mount Arafat for record-breaking Hajj climax

MAIDAN-E-ARAFAT, JUN 27 (DNA) — Imam of Hajj Sheikh Dr Yousaf bin Muhammad bin Saeed has called for unity among Muslim Ummah as nearly three million faithful chant Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik in the Arafat Plain to perform the Rukn-e-Azam Waqoof-e-Arafat which marks climax of the Hajj on Tuesday. 

Delivering Hajj sermon at Masjid-e-Nimra at Maidan-e-Arafat, Sheikh Dr Yusuf bin Muhammad bin Saeed, who is also a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, called for unity among the Muslim Ummah and asked them to keep harmony and brotherhood among them. He said respecting and valuing humanity is compulsory for all the Muslims.

“All Muslims are like part of one body when any part of the body hurts, the pain is felt in the whole body, he added. The Muslims are urged to exhibit unity and behave politely and avoid conflicts,” the Imam of Hajj said.

“Muslims should exhibit best of the manners as only those who will have good manners will be close to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) on the day of judgment”. “The combination of the testimony that only Allah is to be worshipped, along with the testimony that Muhammad (PBUH) is Allah’s final messenger.”

Sheikh Dr Yousaf in his Hajj sermon further said that respecting and valuing humanity is compulsory for all Muslims. “Success lies in fear of Allah Almighty and following his orders,” he added.

He said Allah has ordered Muslims to keep praying and paying Zakat to the needy people. He urged the Muslims to worship in such a way that Almighty Allah is seeing them. The Hujjaj offered Zuhr and Asr prayers together and they will stay at Arafat the whole day today in supplication praying for welfare of Ummah.

Then they will leave Arafat for Muzdalifah where they will offer Maghrib and Isha prayers together and spend the night under open sky and collect pebbles for stoning the devil. Meanwhile, mmillions of pilgrims crowded Mount Arafat on Tuesday, the climax of a potentially record-breaking Hajj pilgrimage held in fierce summer heat.

As dawn broke, groups of worshippers recited Holy Quran verses on the rocky rise, where the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is believed to have given his final sermon. The ritual is the high point of the annual pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, that officials say could be the biggest on record after three years of Covid restrictions.

More than 2.5 million pilgrims were expected to join the Hajj, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings and a source of legitimacy for the oil-rich country’s royal rulers. Temperatures soared to 46 degrees celsius (113 Fahrenheit) on Monday as robed worshippers shielded by umbrellas journeyed from Makkah to Mina, where they slept in a giant tented city before the rites at Mount Arafat today.

Egyptian schoolteacher Tasneem Gamal said she was emotionally overwhelmed to arrive at Arafat, whose rituals are a compulsory part of the pilgrimage. “I cannot describe my feelings, I am living a great joy,” the 35-year-old woman said.

Gamal is performing the Hajj without a male guardian, a requirement that was shelved by Saudi authorities until 2021. This year, a maximum age limit has also been removed, giving thousands of elderly the chance to attend.

Tuesday provides the biggest physical challenge, as pilgrims will spend hours praying and reciting the Holy Quran on Mount Arafat and in the surrounding area amid high temperatures. Unlike Makkah, dotted with hotels and malls, and the tents of Mina, air-conditioned shelter is scarce in Arafat.

As helicopters buzzed overhead, entry roads were packed with worshippers. Thousands of health workers were on alert for cases of heat stroke and exhaustion. The heat risk will be highest from 12:00 midday to 3:00 pm, when outdoor labour is banned in Saudi Arabia between June and September to protect workers.

After sunset, pilgrims will travel the short distance to Muzdalifah, halfway between Arafat and Mina, to sleep in the open air. The following day, they will gather pebbles and hurl them at three giant concrete walls in the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual.

The last stop is back at Makkah’s Grand Mosque, where they will perform a final circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba, the giant black cube that Muslims worldwide pray towards each day. Heat is not the only risk at Hajj, which has seen multiple crises over the years.

In 2015, a stampede killed up to 2,300 people. There have been no major incidents since. Before heading to Arafat, American engineer Ahmed Ahmadine said he felt “blessed” to be able to take part in the pilgrimage. “I try to focus on praying for my family and friends,” said the 37-year-old. “This is an opportunity that will not be repeated.” — DNA