MAKKAH (Agencies) Around three million Muslims from all over the globe performed Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam and one of the most sacred and cherished religious obligations, in the holy city of Makkahtul Mukarma on Thursday. The pilgrims gathered in Makkah in a dignified manner by wearing 'Ahram, reciting Quran verses about glory of Allah Almighty and offering various supplications to Him in accordance with the practice of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh delivered the Haj sermon from Masjid-e-Nimra. In his address, the Mufti asserted the oneness of Allah Almighty and highlighted various aspects of life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He urged the Ummah to follow the teachings of Islam and footsteps of the last Messenger of God to achieve success in the world and the hereafter. He said Muslim Ummah was facing a number of challenges as the enemies of Islam were hatching conspiracies against their religion to defame its followers in the world. The Grand Mufti said Islam is the religion of peace, harmony and brotherhood and it has nothing to do with terrorism and extremism. He underlined the need for greater unity among Muslims to tackle the challenges confronted by Ummah. The Mufti emphatically stated that future belonged to Islam and no worldly power could defeat this great religion if Muslims sincerely pursued its teachings. He said that Islam, as in the past, was facing immense challenges and it was duty of the Ummah to work hard to foil conspiracies of the enemies through unity and dedication to religious values and traditions. He cautioned that one of the greatest challenges confronting Muslims was the moral decay and the enemy was trying to weaken the fabric of their society by creating doubts among Muslim youths about their own religion and its values. The Imam Sahib pointed out that some global television channels were engaged in a campaign to divide the Muslim Ummah on the basis of sects, languages and geography. He said the enemy was trying to use Muslim resources to sow seeds of hatred among Muslims. Sheikh Abdul Aziz said that another challenge facing the Ummah was terrorism and interests of terrorists were in direct clash with those of the Muslims. They are not only causing division among ranks of Muslims but also promoting bloodshed, he warned. He said it was the duty of Muslim leadership, scholars and intellectuals not to compromise with terrorism. He urged Muslims to demonstrate mutual accommodation and tolerance and resolve their differences through dialogue. The Imam Sahib also pointed out that the Muslim world was endowed with all kinds of blessings including manpower and rich natural resources. He, however, regretted that the Muslims had not been able to exploit the capabilities of their manpower for the benefits of the Muslim world and that was why they were getting misdirected. He said a change could only take place in the Muslim world if Muslims made efforts to bring forth men of character and honesty to lead the Ummah. He urged Muslim rulers to ensure protection of rights of the oppressed. The Mufti-e-Azam told the audience that no one can eliminate Islam as Allah Almighty has taken upon Himself its protection. He, however, said ups and downs of the religion were dependent on the level of attachment of Muslims to their religion. The pilgrims offered combined Zohr and Asr prayers after listening to the Haj sermon. The whole plain of Arafat was full to the brim from the early hours of the day as around three million pilgrims from all over the world took part in the pilgrimage. Estimated foreign pilgrims gathering on the plain of Arafat were more than two million while more than 500,000 were from the Kingdom itself. The biggest Haj contingent was from Indonesia with a total of 200,000 while India was the second with 164,000 pilgrims. The third, was Pakistan, which has sent about 160,000 pilgrims and Nigeria, which was not left out in this years Haj rituals, had a total of about 90,000 pilgrims among the international ones. Saudi Arabia had deployed some 100,000 security forces in and around Makkah, Madina and Jeddah for the Hajj rites. From a massive command centres, the forces monitored thousands of closed-circuit TV cameras, including 1,852 in and around the Haram and 600 at the Jumrat Bridge where pilgrims would stone the devil on Friday, Saturday and finish on Sunday. Health personnel have also been increased this year to 20,000 to cope with the threat of swine flu in addition to other health worries. Meanwhile, floodings caused by heavy downpours in western Saudi Arabia have killed 77 people while another 900 were rescued from swirling waters, the civil defence authority said on Thursday. A 90-millimetre downpour which hit the Red Sea city of Jeddah and its surroundings flooded the roads and tunnels and even brought down a few old houses, it said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency. The death toll in Jeddah reached 65, while several others died in the neighbouring province of Makkah, the authority said. Television footage showed buses almost submerged in storm water in tunnels in Jeddah, while frogmen worked on rescuing stranded motorists. The rainstorm also hit the holy city of Makkah.