Two-million Muslim pilgrims have gathered at the foot of Mount Arafat outside of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as the traditional Hajj pilgrimage reaches its climax on Monday .
The Prophet Muhammed delivered his last sermon at Mount Arafat and the time spent there is believed to symbolize Judgment Day when, in Muslim belief, all people will stand before God and answer for their deeds.
On Sunday, Muslim pilgrims visited Mecca's Grand Mosque before spending the night at the tent city of Mina.
This year's Hajj comes amid a massive build-up of U-S forces in the Persian Gulf for a possible war with Iraq. With both anti-war and anti-U-S sentiment running high among pilgrims, the Saudis have deployed some 20-thousand security personnel to keep order.
For its part the United States has heightened its internal security alert status on intelligence reports of possible terrorist attacks timed during the Hajj.
Addressing the crowd today before mid-day prayers, Saudi Arabia's top cleric (Sheik Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik) said enemies have targeted Islam for attack, but that Muslims cannot be defeated if they adhere to their faith.
The Hajj ends later this week when the feast of Eid al-Adha begins with the sacrificing of an animal whose meat is distributed to the poor.
Devout Muslims are required to take part in the Hajj at least once during their lifetimes, if they are financially and physically able.
Of one-billion Muslims worldwide, one-and-one-half-million are in Saudi Arabia this year, joining about 500-thousand Saudis also taking part in the Hajj.