Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims crowded Mount Arafat on Tuesday to pray at the height of an annual Hajj pilgrimage in the prevailing heat in Saudi Arabia.
With temperatures rising to 48°C, groups of white-robed worshippers recited Quranic verses on the hill, where the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon.
The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be undertaken at least once by all Muslims with the means that Saudi authorities said could be the biggest on record.
But on Tuesday, the kingdom’s statistics authority said more than 1.8 pilgrims had joined this year’s rituals, making it the largest since the COVID-19 pandemic but still short of the more than 2.5 million that authorities expected.
On Wednesday, the worshippers will gather pebbles and hurl them at three concrete walls in the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual.
Then they will return to Makkah’s Grand Mosque — Islam’s holiest site — for a final circumambulation of the Kaaba.