Arafat (Saudi Arabia): Even as the pilgrims who had gathered in the plane of Arafat, about 20 km from the Holy City of Makkah, on Saturday for the main ritual of the Hajj pilgrimage they experienced unexpected torrential rains. Taking it as a sign of mercy and acceptance of their Hajj, many pilgrims began weeping with joy.
There were others who came out of their tents raising their hands in the air to pray. Most of the pilgrims felt privileged that they have experienced rain on the most important day of the five-day Hajj.
According to reports, while some pilgrims “rushed for cover, many others ran out in the open spaces to pray. Muslims believe that their prayers have a greater chance of being answered when it rains.”
Within no time the streets began to flood leaving puddles and bringing down the temperature that recorded around 33 degree Celsius until early afternoon.
Many pilgrims were seen helping fellow Muslims who were looking for shelter. They also offered them the cloth to dry themselves up.
Meanwhile, the Civil Defence officials cautioned pilgrims to stay safe and avoid low ground prone to flooding. They also warned them against touching metal objects.
The rains were accompanied by thunder and lightning.
A pilgrim said that it was a hot and humid day until 2-30pm when suddenly it started to rain. The rain caught people off guard but most of them appeared happy.
The annual Hajj pilgrimage is a five-day event in the last month of Islamic calendar Dhul Hijja. The pilgrims arrive, mainly from Makkah, in the valley of Mina on the night of 7th Dhul Hijja, spend the 8th day in the valley and move towards Arafat the following day. They then spend 11th and 12th of the month in Mina where they offer sheep sacrifice, take of their Hajj cloth known as ahram and begin returning home.
This year about 25 lakh pilgrims from across the world have arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.