Around three million pilgrims, including Afghans, have begun ascending the plains of Mount Arafat shortly after sunrise on Monday to perform the most important ritual in Hajj.
Standing on Mount Arafat until the sunset on the 9th day of Dul Hijjah is the one of the most important rituals of the Hajj pilgrimage.
Pilgrims converge on the hill, dedicated to prayers and reflection, where Dhuhr and Asr prayers are prayed together.
Chanting “Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk” (Here I am O Lord, answering your call), pilgrims sought blessings and mercy from Allah Almighty.
Pilgrims thronged Mount Arafat from early Monday for the climax of the annual Haj pilgrimage, arriving on foot, by train or in vehicles.
Helicopters hovered overhead and thousands of troops stood guard to organise roads flooded by men, women and children streaming towards Mount Arafat.
They had moved to Mina on Sunday from the holy city of Makkah, home to the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest place of worship which houses the cube-shaped Kaaba structure towards which all Muslims pray daily five times.
They will crowd onto the hill and the vast plain surrounding it praying until sunset when they then set off for nearby Muzdalifah. There they will then spend the night before moving on in the morning to start the ritual of symbolically stoning the devil.
The Haj, which officially ends on Friday, is one of the five pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must perform at least once.