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More Than 2 Million Muslims Flock to Mecca For Beginning of the Hajj

Muslims arrive to Saudi Arabia as part of the annual hajj pilgrimage, a ritual required of all able-bodied believes at least once in their life.  Mecca: Annual muslim pilgrimage

Mecca, Aug.9.– More than 2 million pilgrims were gathered in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Friday to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago.

The hajj in Islam is meant to be a great equalizer and unifier among Muslims, with pilgrims shedding overt displays of wealth and materialism.

All male pilgrims wear simple terry cloth white garments and women don conservative dress and headscarves, forgoing makeup, nail polish and perfume in an effort to draw closer to God and engage in intense worship for the five-day hajj.

On Friday, thousands of pilgrims circled the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. They circle the Kaaba counter-clockwise, their hearts tilting toward the structure that’s meant to symbolize the monotheistic principle of the oneness of God in Islam. Muslims around the world pray toward the Kaaba daily, using compasses to help them pray in its direction ...

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