Saudi Arabia is hosting near three million Muslims from across the globe who are spending days and nights in prayer and devotion on the hajj pilgrimage.
The city of Mecca is at the heart of what is a life-altering experience for most of the pilgrims. Men and women perform the pilgrimage in the same way.
The pilgrims begin their journey by walking around the Kabaa, an ancient structure at the heart of the city’s Grand Mosque.
Dressed in white robes to symbolize purity, the pilgrims complete the first ritual of the Hajj by circling the sacred Kaaba seven times.
The 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah (the month of hajj) is called the Day of Arafat.
Pilgrims make their way to Mina, five kilometers east of Mecca for a ritual of prayer and reflection. They also throw stones at pillars that symbolize the devil.
The Muslim pilgrims then travel from Mina to Mount Arafat. The pilgrims spend the night praying in the Arafat Desert.
The tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah is Eid Al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice. Muslims then slaughter a sheep, goat, or camel to show their gratitude for Allah’s generosity and blessing and distribute the meat among the poor.
The Hajj is a core concept of Islam, gathering Muslims annually from all over the world.