About two million Muslim pilgrims gathered at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on October 4 as they took part in one of the final rites of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims completed a five-day religious journey that is considered one of the Muslim faith’s greatest acts of worship.
Wearing unstitched folds of white cloth, the pilgrims gathered around the cube-shaped Kaaba – the holiest site in Islam.
Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, is one of the greatest religious observances in Islam.
The exact dates of Islamic holidays cannot be determined in advance, due to the nature of the Islamic lunar calendar. Estimates are based on expected visibility of the hilal (waxing crescent moon following a new moon) and may vary according to location.
Hajj is one of the largest gatherings of people in the world and every adult Muslim is required to complete the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime as long as they are physically and financially capable of making the expensive and difficult journey.
Every year, Muslim faithful from about 160 countries converge on the Islamic city of Mecca and other locations in western Saudi Arabia to complete the holy journey.
The week of Hajj occurs during the last month of the Islamic calendar and it requires pilgrims to perform a number of services or rituals before arriving in Mecca.
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