EventsEventsPodcasts
Loader
Find Us
ADVERTISEMENT

Millions of Muslim pilgrims head to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for annual Hajj pilgrimage

Muslim pilgrims pray around the Kaaba, the cubic building at thGrand Mosque, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 25, 2023.
Muslim pilgrims pray around the Kaaba, the cubic building at thGrand Mosque, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 25, 2023. Copyright Amr Nabil/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Amr Nabil/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
Published on
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Around two million Muslims are expected to travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage as the religious festival returns to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the largest religious gatherings in the world is underway. 

The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all Muslims are required to make the five-day Hajj at least once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to do it.

After circling Islam's holiest site, the Kaaba, the worshippers converge on a vast tent camp at Mina in the nearby desert for a day and night of prayer.

For pilgrims, it is a deeply moving spiritual experience that absolves sins, brings them closer to God and unites the world's more than 1.8 billion Muslims. Some spend years saving up money and waiting for a permit to embark on the journey.

The rituals during Hajj largely commemorate the Quran's accounts of Ibrahim, his son Ismail and Ismail's mother Hajar.

On Tuesday, the pilgrims will move on to Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad is said to have delivered his final sermon.

Mina is vast and open, with little respite from the desert heat and blazing sun. Soldiers sprayed pilgrims with water to cool them down.

Egyptian businessman Yehya Al-Ghanam said he was at a loss for words to describe his feelings upon arriving at Mina.

“Tears will fall from my eyes out of joy and happiness,” he said. “I do not sleep. I have not slept for 15 days, only an hour a day," overwhelmed by the magnitude of the emotions surrounding his pilgrimage.

After Arafat, pilgrims collect pebbles from a site known as Muzdalifa to be used in the symbolic stoning of pillars representing the devil back in Mina.

The final three days of the Hajj coincide with the festive Eid al-Adha holiday when Muslims around the world slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Over 1,000 Muslims died during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage

Pilgrims commence final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

Hajj pilgrims endure 47 degrees in Saudi Arabia