Estimated two million Muslims from around the world have gathered in Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage.



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An
estimated two million Muslims from around the world have gathered near
Mecca in Saudi Arabia in an act of faith and repentance for the hajj
pilgrimage.

One of the world’s largest annual gatherings and a central pillar of
the Islamic faith, the five-day spiritual journey is meant to cleanse
the faithful of sin and bring them closer to God.

Following a route that the Prophet Muhammad once walked, the rites
also trace the footsteps of the Biblical prophets Abraham and Ishmael.

The pilgrimage is physically demanding and involves performing
several acts, such as circumbulating the cube-shaped Kaaba seven times,
that Muslims believe was built by Abraham 4,000 years ago.

Pilgrims flock to Arafat, also known as the Mount of Mercy, after
spending a night of meditation and introspection in the tent city of
Mina which marks the first leg of the pilgrimage.

It was at Arafat about 1,400 years ago that the Prophet Muhammad
delivered his last sermon. The faithful believe that on this day the
gates of heaven are open, prayers are answered and past sins can be
forgiven.

Pilgrims then make their way to Muzdalifah where they spend the night
under the stars and gather pebbles to perform the symbolic “stoning of
the devil”.

The ritual is an emulation of Abraham’s stoning of the devil at the
three spots where he is said to have appeared trying to dissuade the
biblical patriarch from obeying God’s order to sacrifice Ishmael.

All male pilgrims, regardless of wealth or status, wear a seamless
two-piece white garment, symbolising a state of purity and emphasising
equality.

Women also generally wear white, exposing only their faces and hands.

An estimated two million Muslims have gathered in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage./MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP
Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and every Muslim who is physically and financially able must perform the pilgimage./MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP
Muslims believe that if their pilgrimage is accepted, their sins will be washed away./Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Hajj involves several rites, including circling the cube-shaped Kaaba seven times./© Muhammad Hamed / Reuters/REUTERS
Pilgrims gather around Mount Arafat, following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad some 14 centuries ago./Khalid Mohammed/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Muslims believe that on the Day of Arafat the gates of heaven are open./MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS
The Mount is the place where the Prophet Muhammad stood and delivered his Farewell Sermon./STR/EPA
After spending the day in Arafat, pilgrims make their way to Muzdalifah
where they spend the night under the stars without tents or covers./MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP
After leaving Muzdalifah pilgrims perform the ‘devil stoning ritual’ where they throw pebbles at pillars symbolising the devil./MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP
Muslim across the world celebrate Eid after the Day of Arafat./MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS
During the Hajj male pilgrims wear simple unstitched white garments while women wear an abaya and a headscarf./MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP
The Grand Mosque in Mecca is considered Islam’s holiest site./MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS

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3 Comments on "Estimated two million Muslims from around the world have gathered in Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage."

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chinenyenwa
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chinenyenwa

may God hear and answer they prayers

Nkwazema
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Rubbish mecca pilgrimage my foot

Victor Ndah
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Jess this is much, my concern is that they should pray well and may God answer their prayer…

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