KHARTOUM (Sudanow) – The Neem trees that protect the pilgrims from sunstroke and dust in Arafat for 35 years have been a gift from Sudanese late President Gaffar Mohammed Numeiri (1969-1985).
Staying at Arafat from sunrise to sunset is the climax of pilgrimage and at Mount Arafat Prophet Mohamed, Prayer and Peace be Upon Him, delivered what came to be known as the khtbat al wadaa or the last sermon.
Arafat is an unpopulated valley about 20 KM from Mecca and because of its hot temperature, pilgrims used to suffer sunstrokes and fainting. Nothing this situation, the then President Numeri sent more than half a million Neem seedlings to be planted at Arafat. The Neem is known for providing huge shade and is famous for its tolerance of desert climate.
The Saudi agricultural engineer who supervised the transportation and planting of the seedlings said in press statements that Numeiri had also provided a military plane (Hercules C-130) for the transportation of the seedlings to Jeddah airport and from there to Arafat on board of trucks.
Five tankers were also allotted for irrigation of the seedling that grew up into full blossomed trees, nowadays. Few people alas remember this deed.
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