Muslim hajj pilgrims ascend Mount Arafat for day of worship

Sudanese pilgrims embrace as they congratulate each other for performing the annual hajj pilgrimage near the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims make their way down on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims take a nap on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, ahead of sunrise near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims pray in front of a pillar, where Islam's Prophet Muhammad is believed to have delivered his last sermon to tens of thousands of followers, on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, ahead of sunrise near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Algerian pilgrims march towards the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Pilgrims walk outside Namira Mosque in Arafat, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Friday to perform initial rites of the Hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims offer dawn prayers on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, ahead of sunrise near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims take a nap on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, ahead of sunrise near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A Muslim pilgrim takes a selfie on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage ahead of sunrise near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Pigeons fly as Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
In this picture taken with low shutter speed, Muslim pilgrims make their way up on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, ahead of sunrise near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Friday to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A Muslim pilgrim prays on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

MOUNT ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia — More than 2 million Muslims are gathered at the sacred hill of Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia for an intense day of worship and reflection on what's considered the climax of the Islamic hajj pilgrimage.

Some had tears streaming down their faces as the men, wearing simple white garments, and women raised their hands in worship on the slopes of the rocky hill. Many walked through the pre-dawn darkness early Saturday to the hill where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon some 1,400 years ago, calling for equality and unity among Muslims.

One of the largest religious gatherings on earth, the second day of the hajj is often the most memorable for pilgrims. They stand shoulder to shoulder with Muslims from around the world seeking God's mercy and blessings.

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