Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims clad in white robes have gathered at the sacred hill of Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia following an eight-mile hike on the second day of the hajj.

Iran (IMNA) - Islam's holiest city, Mecca is halfway back to pre-covid normalcy as an estimated 1 million Muslims gather for the largest hajj pilgrimage since the coronavirus pandemic prompted drastic cuts in number of pilgrims two years in a row.

Pilgrims at Jabal al-Rahmah, which oversees the plain of Arafat, stand in the open area under the burning sun and begged Allah for forgiveness.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon (khutabat al-wida) on the Plain of Arafat. The event also known as the Farewell Pilgrimage.

Pilgrims will stay in the Plain of Arafat until sunset before moving to the plain of Muzdalifa where they will collect pebbles to throw at three pillars called Jamarat symbolizing the devil. Rajm, symbolic ritual of stoning the devil, is the last rite of the annual haj that takes place in the city of Mina just east of Mecca.

Once the hajj is over, men are expected to shave their heads, and women to cut off a lock of their hair a symbol of rebirth. Muslims will celebrate the end of the pilgrimage with Eid al-Adha, known as Festival of Sacrifice.

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