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‘Largest Hajj pilgrimage in history’ begins in Saudi Arabia

Photo: Sahara Reporters

The pilgrimage of Hajj has begun in Saudi Arabia as crowds of Muslims donning white robes circle the Kaaba, the cubed structure at the epicentre of Islam’s holiest site, to offer prayers to Allah.

The annual pilgrimage began on Sunday in Mecca, Saudi Arabia with the tawaf, the circling of the Kaaba, in an event that is expected to break attendance records.

The number of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year is expected to break records at more than 2.5 million, according to Al Jazeera.

On Sunday evening, the pilgrims will begin making their way to Mina, about 8km (5 miles) from Mecca’s al-Masjid al-Haram, or the Grand Mosque, before they gather at Mount Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad is believed to have delivered his final sermon.

Mina is prepared for the pilgrims, with food supplies brought in and security forces deployed.

Saudi authorities said more than 32,000 health workers and thousands of ambulances are on standby to treat cases of heatstroke, dehydration and exhaustion.

The Islamic ritual is obligatory for every able-bodied Muslim adult who has the financial means to take part, forming one of the five pillars of the religion.

The physically and emotionally challenging experience is meant to cleanse followers of sin and bring them closer to God.

This year, Hajj is held between June 26 and July 1, with the celebration of Eid al-Adha taking place on June 28.



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