Following the footsteps of prophets beneath a burning sun, Muslims from around the world congregated on Saturday at a sacred hill in Saudi Arabia for an intense, daylong worship and reflection.

The ritual at Mount Arafat, known as the hill of mercy, is considered the peak of the Haj pilgrimage. It is often the most memorable for pilgrims, who stand shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet, asking God for mercy, blessings, prosperity and good health.

The mount is about 20 km southeast of Mecca. Thousands of pilgrims walked to the mount through the predawn darkness. On the slopes of the rocky hill and the surrounding area, many raised their hands in worship with tears streaming down their faces.