Cooling rain pours down on Hajj pilgrims at Mount of Mercy

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Pilgrims in the Arafat area were hit by heavy rain and thunder storms on the second day of Hajj. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Pilgrims in the Arafat area were hit by heavy rain and thunder storms on the second day of Hajj. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Pilgrims in the Arafat area were hit by heavy rain and thunder storms on the second day of Hajj. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
Updated 11 August 2019
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Cooling rain pours down on Hajj pilgrims at Mount of Mercy

  • Civil defense cautioned pilgrims to stay safe and to avoid low ground prone to flooding
  • Pilgrims rejoice at 'sign of mercy' and offer prayers

ARAFAT: Just as the heat became almost too much to bear, thunder cracked, the skies opened and the cooling rain began to fall. Not for nothing is it called the Mount of Mercy.

Streets began to flood within minutes of the showers, leaving muddy puddles and cooling those making their spiritual journey to and from Arafat.

While some rushed for cover, many others ran to the streets to pray.  Pilgrims wept as they raised their hands in worship on the slopes of Mount Arafat. Many had walked there through the pre-dawn darkness.

In Islam, Muslims believe that the their prayers have a higher chance of being answered when it rains.

 

Many pilgrims began to help others in need of shelter and offered clothing for those who were drenched in the rain. 

“This the first time I have come to Hajj, and it’s amazing,” pilgrim Ghada Al-Johar told Arab News. “When it rained, I went out and I cried. Every time when I saw the rain on TV during Hajj in the past I always thought, lucky them.

“One of my friends was here last year and she told me to pray to come, so I did, and here I am, my prayers have been answered.”

More than 2 million Muslims gathered on the sacred hill on Saturday for an intense day of worship and reflection that is the high point of Hajj. Among them was Danyah Bennett, 25, whose mother died only a week after her daughter’s wedding four years ago.

“I feel my mother is with me on Hajj every step of the way,” Danyah told Arab News. “I think about her a lot during Hajj. I wish she was here with me.”

As the pilgrims prayed on Mount Arafat, in Makkah a team of 160 technicians and craftsmen were replacing the Kiswa, the black silk covering for the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque. The ceremony takes place every year on the second day of Hajj.

On Saturday evening the pilgrims moved to Muzdalifah, to prepare for the symbolic stoning of the devil. 

The total number of pilgrims this year is 2,489,406, Saudi statistics chiefs said on Saturday.

The civil defense cautioned pilgrims to stay safe and to avoid low ground prone to flooding and from touching metal objects.

“I feel so happy, I feel as if my Hajj has received more mercy from Allah,” a pilgrim told Arab News in reference to the rain.

* For more pcitures of the rain on the second day of Hajj click here.


Saudi crown prince arranges special plane for Pakistan PM’s US visit

Updated 4 min 59 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince arranges special plane for Pakistan PM’s US visit

  • Khan began his week-long visit to the US on Saturday to attend the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) and participate in a host of other activities
  • Amin said Saudi Arabia is in a position to help Pakistan in its diplomatic engagements with the Trump administration, which is why Khan visited the Kingdom before flying to New York

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan’s media adviser on Sunday praised the “magnanimity” of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for arranging a special plane to fly Pakistan’s prime minister to New York.
Khan “went to Saudi Arabia on a commercial flight,” and the crown prince “offered a special plane to him for his travel from Saudi Arabia to the US,” Iftikhar Durrani told Arab News.
Khan began his week-long visit to the US on Saturday to attend the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) and participate in a host of other activities, including a meeting with President Donald Trump. Khan and the crown prince “have chemistry,” said Durrani. “They like each other.”
International relations expert Dr. Mussarrat Amin told Arab News: “Khan’s earlier visit to the US was also arranged by the crown prince, which produced positive results for Pakistan.”
Amin said Saudi Arabia is in a position to help Pakistan in its diplomatic engagements with the Trump administration, which is why Khan visited the Kingdom before flying to New York.
“The Saudis can influence the US to play a mediatory role between Pakistan and India. People in Pakistan expect great things from the Kingdom when it comes to the Kashmir issue,” Amin added. The Pakistani and Indian prime ministers are scheduled to address the UNGA on Sept. 27.
Former Pakistani Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi said the crown prince’s gesture shows the warmth between the two countries, and Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia ahead of his US trip was significant.
Khan “reached out to the crown prince to stop the escalation of the situation in this region due to India’s actions in Kashmir,” Naqvi told Arab News.