Pilgrims Assembling on Mecca’s Arafat Mount
More than two million Muslim pilgrims have been assembling since dawn Sunday on the Arafat Mount in Mecca for the prime rite of the Hajj.
The assembly on the 14-mile square plain comes on the 9th of the 12th Hijri month, a day before the Eid Al Adha. Pilgrims start moving there from Mina at dawn, but they must be there before noon and stay in the holy place until sunset before moving on to spend the night at Muzdalifa.
On the morning of the Eid, the Hajj performers start slaughtering sheep and cattle commemorating the sacrifice Prophet Abraham made in the same place.
According to the Holy Quran, Abraham was ordered by Allah, as a test, to kill his son Ishmael and both unreluctantly got prepared to obey the order. But as the knife was on the neck, Allah sent Abraham a huge ram to sacrifice instead of his son.
Pilgrims should sacrifice sheep as a rite in the Hajj, except for a certain type of Hajj in which a pilgrim performs extra rituals. But Muslims all over the world usually slaughter sheep, camels and cattle and distribute the meat to poor neighbors and relatives.
For years now, the authorities in Saudi Arabia have adopted a policy by which the pilgrims pay for the sheep and the slaughtering is done in slaughterhouse. The killed animals are then sent to poor Muslims in other countries, including the Palestinian refugee camps – Albawaba.com