ARAFAH: Malaysian pilgrims, gathered here for wukuf today sought forgiveness for their sins and prayed for blessings for themselves and loved ones on the most auspicious day in Islam.
Numbering 30,200, 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.
Pilgrims could be seen climbing up the sides of Mount Arafah and taking up positions to pray on the rocks.
Malaysian pilgrims during wukuf in Arafah.
It is said that during wukuf or the Day of Arafah, the skies will open up and God will accept the sincere repentance and supplications from pilgrims.
Muslims who are not performing the haj are encouraged to fast to commemorate wukuf and Arafah, where Prophet Muhammad's final sermon was delivered about 1,400 years ago and the message of Islam was completed.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs, Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who delivered the Arafah sermon at one of the tents here, led the pilgrims in prayers.
He had earlier visited some of the tents for Malaysians to greet pilgrims.
In Mujahid's sermon, he said haj was the ultimate expression of submission to God, and it was thus important for pilgrims to exhibit better behaviour when they returned after performing the fifth pillar of Islam.
Mujahid addressing Malaysian pilgrims in their tents.
"You should steer clear of sin in your daily lives. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the sanctity of Islam is preserved as best as you can through your lives.
He recounted what Prophet Muhammad said on his last sermon in Arafah and urged pilgrims to heed and take to heart the Prophet's words.
In his sermon, the Prophet called on followers to repay their debts, beware of Satan, perform five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan and give to charity.
The Prophet also called on those with the means to perform the haj once in a lifetime; reminded worshippers of the rights that women have; and said that no ethnic group or race has superiority over another except in piety and good action.
Mujahid said pilgrims should make full use of their time here as for most people, it would only come once in their lifetimes.
Mujahid meeting Malaysian pilgrims in their tents.
"When we return to our homeland, we must use the haj as the point in our lives for change and spend our remaining years abiding by His commands."
The congregation also prayed to Allah to protect the ummah and for continued unity, peace and harmony among Malaysians.
After the sermon, pilgrims withdrew by themselves or in groups and recited prayers and doa until sundown.
Pilgrims prayed that their sins be forgiven and asked the same for their families and friends. They also asked God for guidance, assistance and protection from calamities and difficulties.
They will leave here after sundown and head for Muzdalifah, where they will spend the night under the open sky before heading for Mina. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd