65,000 Nigerian pilgrims observe Arafat Day in Makkah
Some 65,000 Nigerian pilgrims were among 1.8 million Muslims across the world who observed Arafat Day in Muna, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the hilly Arafat site reports that Nigerian pilgrims used the occasion to pray for themselves, their families and Nigeria.
Some pilgrims described the occasion as unique, saying it gave them the opportunity of a lifetime to pray specially for peace and development in Nigeria.
The spiritual occasion has been peaceful with little stress in spite of the hot weather compared to previous occasions when large crowds posed a lot of challenges for pilgrims and officials.
Saudi security personnel were up to the task of guiding the conduct of pilgrims as they were at every location at the site to ensure orderliness of the exercise.
After a day devoted to special prayers at Arafat, pilgrims will move to Musdalifah where they will observe the two evening prayers before moving to Muna for the stoning of three devil, a rite performed in groups to avoid stampede.
After 12 hours at the plain of Arafat, pilgrims will move to Makkah to prepare for Eid-el- Kabir on Sunday.
Mount Arafat is a granite hill about 20km east of central Makkah in the plains. .
Mount Arafat is about 70m high and is also known as the Mount of Mercy.
Islamic tradition places much importance on Arafat as pilgrims spend the afternoon at the plain of Arafat failure of which invalidates the hajj
Addressing newsmen earlier at Muna, Sen. Aliyu Ndume appealed to Nigerian pilgrims to use the opportunity of their presence at Arafat to pray for the welfare and security of Nigeria.