More than 41,000 Nigerian pilgrims join hundreds of thousands of other Muslim pilgrims from around the world to descend the Mount Arafah, today the 9th of Dhul Hijjah; an intense day of worship considered to be the climax of the annual Hajj rites.
Pilgrims were seen raising their hands, supplicating and offering prayers of repentance on the sacred hill, as the experience sent many pilgrims to tears.
The pilgrims set out for Arafah before dawn, chanting as they trekked and remained until nightfall in deep contemplation and worship.
This year’s pilgrimage marks the largest since the virus struck, although the attendance by 1 million worshippers remains less than half of the pre-pandemic influx.
All pilgrims selected to perform the Hajj this year are under age 65 and have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
Nigerian pilgrims at the various tents in Arafat held special prayers specially for the peace of Nigeria, which is currently experiencing security challenges.
A special National prayer was later held on Friday for the progress, development and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria.
The prayer was led by prominent Islamic scholars in different national languages including English and Arabic with the management of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in attendance.
Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, NAHCON Chairman, had earlier called for a national rebirth to make Nigeria attain its full potentials in the comity of nations.
He called for prayers for a successful 2023 elections where only leaders that can change the fortunes of Nigeria will emerge.
“We need serious prayers to keep our nation as one, to curb the current insecurity and improve the standard of living of all citizens. Nigeria will Insha Allah be great in all aspects with fervent prayers by citizens.
We are using this period of Arafat, which is a special day, to pray for the success of our country in all ramifications,” he said.
Hassan said that it was still with deep sense of appreciation that about 90 per cent of intending pilgrims were able to perform Hajj this year.
He said that NAHCON would continue to improve on its services in spite of the emergency nature of the 2022 Hajj operations.
– With Additional information from NAN
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