A large number of Muslim pilgrims on Tuesday gathered at Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia for the culmination of the hajj pilgrimage, which took place during the hot summer season and may have broken attendance records.
At daybreak, congregations chanted Koranic verses on the stony elevation, which is traditionally recognised as the site where Prophet Mohammed delivered his last sermon.
The annual pilgrimage ritual, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is anticipated to be the largest on record following three years of Covid restrictions.
The hajj, a significant religious event and a means of legitimising the ruling monarchy of the oil-rich country, was anticipated to attract over 2.5 million pilgrims.
Temperatures reached 46 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday when robed pilgrims travelled from Mecca to Mina, where they camped in a massive tented city before the ceremonies at Mount Arafat.
An Egyptian schoolteacher, Tasneem Gamal, said she was emotionally overwhelmed upon arriving at Arafat, whose rites are a required component of the journey.
“I cannot describe my feelings, I am living a great joy,” the 35-year-old woman said.
Gamal is doing the hajj without a male guardian, a necessity that Saudi officials have stopped in 2021.
This year, the maximum age barrier has been eliminated, allowing thousands more senior people to attend.