By Tunde Niyi-Akinmade
About 65,000 Nigerian pilgrims were among 1.8 million Muslims across the world who observed Arafat Day in Mina, near Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.
Muslim pilgrims from across the world are gathering in Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Nigerian pilgrims were reported to have used the occasion to pray for themselves, their families and Nigeria.
Some pilgrims described the occasion as unique, saying it gave them the opportunity of a lifetime to pray especially for peace and development in Nigeria.
The spiritual occasion has been peaceful with little stress in spite of the hot weather compared to previous occasions when large crowds posed a lot of challenges for pilgrims and officials.
Saudi security personnel were up to the task of guiding the conduct of pilgrims as they were at every location at the site to ensure the orderliness of the exercise.
After a day devoted to special prayers at Arafat, pilgrims will move to Musdalifah where they will observe the two evening prayers before moving to Mina for the stoning of three devils, a rite performed in groups to avoid the stampede.
After 12 hours at the plain of Arafat, pilgrims will move to Makkah to prepare for Eid-el- Kabir on Sunday.
Mount Arafat is a granite hill about 20km east of central Makkah in the plains. Mount Arafat is about 70m high and is also known as the Mount of Mercy.
Islamic tradition places much importance on Arafat as pilgrims spend the afternoon at the plain of Arafat failure of which invalidates the Hajj.