More than 2.5 million Muslims from around the world are expected to perform the hajj.
The hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the largest pilgrimage in the world. More than 2.5 million Muslims are expected to perform the hajj, a religious duty to be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.
The pilgrimage is a demonstration of solidarity between Muslim people, as well as their submission to Allah.
This year, the hajj falls between Nov. 4 to 9.
The hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad and during the time pilgrims join processions and perform a series of rituals. The rituals include: walking counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba — the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer — running back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drinking from the Zamzam Well, standing vigil at Mount Arafat, and throwing stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil.
At the end of hajj, pilgrims shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha.
Editors note: More photos to be added as the pilgrimage continues.