Muslim pilgrims gather atop Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat
Muslim pilgrims gather atop Mount Mercy on the most important day of Hajj (Reuters)

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has condemned terrorism and preached peace among Muslims ahead of the "most important day" of Hajj.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, who has been the religious leader of Saudi Arabia for almost 15 years, told the millions of pilgrims gathered in Mecca for the annual pilgrimage that Islam does not allow terrorism and that Muslims should practice peace and love.

According to the Lahore Times, he said: "Hell is the final abode for those who spill the blood of an innocent human.

The Grand Mufti condemned terrorism in his Hajj Sermon on Mount Arafat (Reuters)

"Islam does not allow terrorism at any cost. Islam condemns all violence and terrorism plaguing the world today. Muslims should demonstrate a love for peace and unity."

Before Hajj, Al-Asheikh had said wealthy pilgrims should help the poor instead of performing Hajj twice.

Delivering the Hajj Sermon, from Masjid e Nimra at Mount Arafat, Al-Asheikh said Muslims across the world are facing a difficult time because many had forgotten the teachings of the Holy Prophet, adding that success lies in unity and urging an end to sectarianism.

Around two million Muslims gathered on the Arafat planes (Reuters)

"The Holy Quran is an ultimate guidance for the entire humanity which should be implemented and acted on.

"Oh Muslims be God-fearing, adopt the taqwa (fear of Allah), shun from earning money through un-Islamic means, hold fast the rope of Allah and don't be divided into diverse schools of thoughts, get united against injustice."

He made his comments ahead of the most holy day of Hajj, the Day of Arafat. Pilgrims will today gather on the desert planes of Arafat to pray.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh said Muslims should demonstrate peace and unity (Reuters)

Around two million Muslims are expected to descend onto Mount Arafat after walking 14 miles from Mina to the site. According to Al-Arabiya, many Muslims believe the Day of Arafat is when their sins can be forgiven.

Bilal Philips, founder of the Islamic Online University, said: "Arafat represents the essence of hajj. If one pilgrim misses Arafat, there is nothing you can do to repair your hajj. Arafat is so vital that missing it invalidates hajj altogether. So, from the perspective of those making hajj, it is the most important pillar."

Hajj will end on 15 October. It is thought around one million fewer Muslims took part in the pilgrimage this year because of concerns over the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV).

Around one million fewer Muslims performed Hajj this year (Reuters)