(*WebDesk) - Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with Shahadah (belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as prophet), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity) and Sawm (fasting). The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in their lifetime if they are healthy enough and have the means to do so
It is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which all Muslims who are physically and financially undertake at least once in their lifetime. This year, more than two million people perform Hajj.
Tens of thousands of security personnel have been deployed for the pilgrimage, which was struck by its worst ever disaster three years ago when around 2,300 worshippers were crushed to death in a stampede. This year, the Saudis have launched a "smart hajj" initiative, with apps to help pilgrims with everything from travel plans to medical care.
According to interior ministry that the number of pilgrims arriving in Mecca had already surpassed the two million mark, mostly from abroad including large contingents
Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Middle East, US, UK, Europe and some other parts of far east Asia on Tuesday will observe the first day of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the hajj. Muslims traditionally slaughter sheep for the three-day Eid al-Adha, a tribute to the Prophet Abraham A.S s sacrifice of a lamb after God spared Ishmael, his son. They will consume some of the meat and give the rest to poor people unable to buy
2017 saw almost 2.5 million attendees, with 2012 holding the record with more than three million flocking to the holy city.
More than 2 million Muslims are taking part in this year s Hajj pilgrimage. Photo: AFP
Saudi security officers near Mount Arafat during Hajj on August 20, 2018. Photo: REUTERS
During Hajj, male pilgrims wear two unstitched pieces of white cloth that cover their body, known as the ihram. Women wear loose-fitting clothing. Photo: AP
A pilgrim reads from a prayer leaflet atop Mount Arafat. Photo:AFP
Pilgrims are touching the sacred stone of Hijr-e-Aswad. Photo: EUP
Pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat during Hajj. Photo: AFP
The five-day pilgrimage is required of all financially and physically able Muslims at least once in their lifetimes. Photo: AP
Thousands of Pilgrims Tents spread over the large area. Photo: AFP
Pilgrims from Indonesia arrive at the plains of Arafat on the eve of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.Photo: REUTERS
Pilgrims arrive at the plains of Arafat outside Mecca on the eve of Hajj. Photo: REUTERS
Pilgrims take photos at Jabal al-Rahma, or the Mountain of Mercy. Photo: AP