ARAFAH: It stormed here on Sunday, a day before wukuf, a rare occurence during the hot summer months.
The storm, accompanied by very strong winds, buffeted the tents of pilgrims and caused a power outage throughout the entire tent site. It started just before sundown around 6.30pm (local time), catching pilgrims offguard. The storm, however, did not dampen their spirits.
On the contrary, the rain was viewed as cleansing.
Tabung Haji (TH) head of the Malaysian 1439H haj delegation Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman assured that Malaysian pilgrims were safe.
He said, however, that electricity supply had to be cut temporarily upon the orders of Saudi authorities to ensure the safety of pilgrims during the storm from 6.30pm to 8pm.
"Some tents were damaged but are currently being repaired."
Electricity supply was restored in stages from 10.45pm.
Malaysian pilgrims, numbering 30,200, had arrived in Arafah for wukuf on Sunday in stages from early morning. They joined close to three million pilgrims from all corners of the globe here in the valley of Mount Arafah to mark the most important day of the pilgrimage.
Malaysian pilgrims on Sunday moved out of Makkah for Masyair, the most challenging phase of the haj.
Masyair refers to the massive movement of pilgrims from Makkah to Arafah for wukuf, and then onwards to Muzdalifah, and Mina.
Wukuf in Arafah represents the pinnacle of haj, a most auspicious day in Islam.
Great efforts are made to ensure all, including the ill and elderly, make it for wukuf as failure to be present in Arafah today on the 9th of Zulhijjah will invalidate a pilgrim's haj.
It is said that during wukuf or the Day of Arafah, the skies will open up and Allah will accept sincere prayers and repentance. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd