The annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has reached its climax with 1.5 million Muslims gathering at Mount Arafat to offer day-long prayers and recitations from the Koran.
The pilgrims congregated from sunrise at the site and the vast plain which surrounds it, about 15 kilometres from Mecca.
Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon at this location.
The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims are called upon to perform at least once.
Reports suggest Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, would not deliver the traditional hajj sermon for the first time in 35 years because of health complications.
Iran has boycotted this year’s pilgrimage.
Saudi Arabia and Iran do not have diplomatic relations and are at loggerheads over a series of regional issues including the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has congratulated Muslims for witnessing another season of Ramadan.
Governor Fayemi, in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olayinka Oyebode, described Ramadan as “the glory of all months in the Islamic calendar”, adding that Ramadan fast is one of the five pillars of Islam that Muslims must strictly adhere to in line with the injunction of the Almighty Allah.
The Governor noted that Ramadan offers an opportunity to draw closer to Allah and deepen relationship with him in submission to his will. He urged Muslims to use the period to pray for peace to reign in all the troubled spots in the country.
He also urged them to use the Ramadan season to pray for peace and prosperity in Ekiti State, especially as the state is about to witness a change in leadership.
Dr Fayemi explained that Allah established Ramadan to bring about equality among the faithful, irrespective of social status. He said: “Ramadan is a special season in which Muslims who are of age and in good health go without food and drinks between sunrise and sunset for 29 or 30 days.
“Ramadan makes everybody to be equal before Allah as the rich are given the taste of hunger the poor go through. He prayed that the holy month would bring abundant blessings for the faithful.