Muslims visit Mount Arafat in Hajj climax

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Muslims visit Mount Arafat in Hajj climax

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An estimated two to three million Muslims have gathered at Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia on the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The hill is where the Prophet Mohammed is said to have given his final sermon more than 14 centuries ago. It is believed the last passage of the Koran was revealed to him there.

Despite a ban on cars, thousands of buses brought traffic chaos.

But many Muslims were not going to let that spoil a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“This is the place where our grandfather and mother meet each other, Adam and Hawa (Eve),” said one pilgrim. “So this is a great event to get together. This is the greatest day in Islam.”

With Islam now embraced by a quarter of the world’s population, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca is more in demand than ever. The authorities anticipated a rise in numbers of up to 20 percent this year.

Skyscraper hotels, and a new metro and railway line have been built. Hajj is a duty for any able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. The question is, how many can?

Although tens of thousands of British Muslims have travelled to Mecca this year, some reports suggest an increasing number are being priced out of the market.