Dubai: For more than a billion Muslims worldwide, these are The Greatest Days — the days of the Haj.
The pilgrimage to Makkah and its vicinity — in western Saudi Arabia — has drawn some 1.4 million people this year. Almost 5,000 pilgrims are from the UAE.
On Friday, they are expected at Mount Arafat, on the outskirts of Makkah, in what is described as the climax of the Haj. Pilgrims, all wearing two plain sheets of cloth, will beseech divine forgiveness and favour, as Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) directed them to, around 1,400 years ago.
In his famed Farewell Speech from Arafat, he also said no man is superior to another, expect by way of piety.
It is this piety the masses of pilgrims are seeking to attain.
In the coming days — from the 10th to 13th day in the month of Haj — they will sacrifice livestock in gratitude for the blessing of Haj. Hundreds of millions of Muslims outside Makkah will also join them on Saturday to celebrate Eid Al Adha, the festival of sacrifice.