More than 2 million Muslims in Saudi start hajj pilgrimage

2015-09-22 14:08
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Mosa'ab Elshamy, AP)

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Mosa'ab Elshamy, AP)

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Mecca - More than 2 million Muslims have started the first rites of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, which draws people from around the world to the holy city of Mecca to perform a series of rituals and prayers aimed at erasing past sins.

Newly-arrived pilgrims circle the cube-shaped Kaaba on Tuesday. They all shed symbols of worldly materialism, a state known as "ihram". Women forgo makeup and perfume for loose fitted clothing and a head-covering while men wear seamless terry cloth white garments meant to symbolise the equality of human beings before God, regardless of wealth, race or status.

All able-bodied Muslims are required in Islam to perform the hajj once in a lifetime.

Pilgrims begin the hajj in Mecca, before heading to the nearby tent city of Mina.

Read more on:    saudi arabia  |  religion  |  hajj

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