Muslim pilgrims were on Thursday gathering near the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which was significantly curtailed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A few thousand people are taking part, a fraction of the 2.5 million people who usually gather every year in the holy city of Mecca for Islam's biggest gathering.
Buses carrying the pilgrims started arriving early on Thursday in Mount Arafat, around 20 kilometers east of Mecca, amid strict health measures.
Saudi state television showed medics checking the temperatures of the pilgrims upon arrival.
Saudi authorities have set up sterilized tents to accommodate pilgrims in Arafat, Saudi state television al-Ekhbariya reported.
The granite hill is the place where the Prophet Mohammed is believed to have delivered his last sermon around 14 centuries ago.
The male pilgrims are clad in seamless pieces of white cloth, while women wear loose garments without make-up or jewellery.
Their attire symbolizes abandoning worldly wealth and acknowledging equality.
The faithful are to spend the day at Arafat, praying for Allah's forgiveness and for contentment.
The Hajj, one of Islam's five pillars, is a mandatory duty for all Muslims once in a lifetime if they possess enough financial resources and are physically capable of undertaking the journey.
This year's Hajj, which began on Wednesday, has been overshadowed by pandemic fears.
Saudi Arabia, which sits on the birthplace of Islam, has limited the numbers of Muslims attending the five-day Hajj, confining it to Muslims already living inside the monarchy in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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