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18:31, 31 July 2014 Thursday
Update: 13:45, 15 November 2010 Monday

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Millions of Muslims began to Wukuf Standing at Mount Arafat/PHOTO
Millions of Muslims began to Wukuf Standing at Mount Arafat/PHOTO

Wukuf is the most important ritual in the haj, as the pilgrimage is considered invalid for those who do not make it for the event

More than two million began to Wukuf Standing at Mount Arafat on Monday.

Muslims who have traveled to Islam's holy city of Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage are extremely excited as the huge practice moves to its final stages.

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Wukuf is the most important ritual in the haj pilgrimage, as the pilgrimage is considered invalid for those who do not make it for the event.

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A total of 100,000 Turkish pilgrims -- 90,000 from Turkey itself and 10,000 from other countries such as those in Europe -- are currently in Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage.

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Mount Arafat is in the desert approximately nine miles from Mecca where pilgrims spend the ninth of Dhu al-Hijjah [in the Islamic calendar] as a rite of Hajj.

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On this day, the pilgrims face Mecca and pray from noon to sundown. Prophet Muhammad delivered his farewell sermon from Mount Arafat during his pilgrimage. In performing wuquf, the pilgrims figuratively join those the Prophet addressed. Wuquf is believed to cleanse and purify the soul and mind in preparation for the pilgrims’ stay at Muzdalifah that night.

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After sunset, pilgrims will move to Muzdalifah, where they collect pebbles to be tossed at three stone representing Satan later in the Hajj, at Mina. Following the stoning, pilgrims will sacrifice animals on the first day of Eid al-Adha, joining millions of other Muslims around the world.

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Islam is now embraced by a quarter of the world's population and haj is a duty for all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it. To minimise the risk of overcrowding and to lessen congestion on the roads the authorities will for the first time be operating a Chinese-built train that will call at haj sites.

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Agencies



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