2024 Hajj: Over 2.5 million Pilgrims prepare for Mount Arafat

By Hudu Yakubu, Makkah

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Over 2.5 Million Muslims from all across the world have now gathered in Makkah and are ready to perform this year’s Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage and the fifth pillar of Islam.

 

Out of the figure, about 65,047 are Nigerian from both the public and private sectors, as revealed by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON).

 

Hajj takes place in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th month in the Islamic Calendar.

 

This year, Muslims across the globe will commemorate the Day of Arafat on Saturday, where pilgrims will gather on the desert planes of Arafat, near Makkah, to pray to their Lord.

 

Hajj is a spiritual duty and a pillar of Islam, meaning that Hajj must be performed by every Muslim at least once in their lifetime, so long as they are financially, physically, and emotionally able to do so. Going more than once during your lifetime is permitted whilst sincerely seeking Allah’s pleasure.

 

Officials report from the Saudi Arabia Authority revealed that this year, they are expecting approximately 2.5 million pilgrims to descend on the site of Mount Arafat for the occasion.

 

The day falls on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, and is an integral part of the pilgrimage of Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam.

 

 

Hajj officially began on Friday, the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah, when pilgrims from all over the world began traveling from the holy city of Makkah to Mina, which is about eight kilometers away.

 

On Saturday, after the dawn prayers in Mina, the pilgrims will start their journey to Arafat, about 14 kilometers away.

 

Many Muslims believe that the Day of Arafat is a day when one’s sins can be forgiven. The Prophet Mohammed said: “It expiates the sins of the previous year and that of the following year.”

 

However, speaking on the Arafat, a Nigerian-based Islamic Scholar and preacher, Imam Mohammed Nuru Khalid, said “For the entire day, pilgrims are to spend hours in the vicinity of the mountain, praying and repenting. Arafat represents the essence of hajj,” Imam Khalid said.

 

“If one pilgrim misses Arafat, there is nothing you can do to repair your hajj. Arafat is so vital that missing it invalidates hajj altogether. So, from the perspective of those making hajj, it is the most important pillar.

 

“It is highly recommended to those who are not performing hajj that they observe a fast on this day.

 

“For those who are not making hajj, it is a day in which [God] has given special rewards to those who fast. [It gives] the ability for those who fast sincerely to purify minor sins of the past year and the coming year.

 

“This is the most value-loaded day of fasting” throughout the whole Islamic year,” Khalid stated.

 

Hajj takes place each year between the 8th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah. Muslims use the lunar calendar, so the corresponding Gregorian date will vary from year to year.

 

This year, Hajj is taking place between 14th to 19th June 2024 in the Gregorian Calendar.

 

Hajj is a test of patience and temperament, a spiritual, emotional, and physical challenge. However, it offers Muslims the opportunity to refresh their spiritual selves, cleanse their sins, and draw closer to Almighty Allah.

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