This ritual had started in the age of Hazrat Ismail AS and Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
In total, some 2.5 million faithful, the majority from overseas, will undertake the pilgrimage this year, according to Saudi media. Many Muslims save for years in order to make this sacred journey. Several hundred thousand more pilgrims are Saudi residents or citizens.
Tensions are particularly high this year between Saudi Arabia, ruled by Sunni Muslims, and Shi'ite Muslim Iran. "I am very excited", Siti Haslina Yousof, a Malaysian pilgrim in Mecca, said.
Mecca, built in a desert valley, is home to the Kaaba, a cube structure that is the focal point of Islam and draped in a gold-embroidered black cloth. Muslim minorities around the world also face increased threats, with Uighurs facing repression in China, Rohingya facing genocide in Myanmar and Kashmiris under a sweeping curfew and communication blackout in the Indian-administered territory.
Commissioner of Operations, Abdullahi Modibo Saleh late last night in Mina, Saudi Arabia, debunked the allegation that the body was responsible for the 487 intending Nigerian pilgrims left stranded in Kano, Nigeria.
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Saudi King Salman invited as his guests to the hajj this year 200 survivors and relatives of victims of a shooting spree in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a white gunman opened fire and killed 51 people in two mosques.
The Hajj, one of the world's largest religious gatherings, is one of Islam's five pillars and must be undertaken by all Muslims with the means at least once in their lives.
During Hajj, pilgrims perform ancient rites and prayers with the aim of cleansing the soul of sin and bringing worshippers closer to Allah.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria at the hilly Arafat site reports that Nigerian pilgrims used the occasion to pray for themselves, their families and Nigeria.
To prevent the possibility of any viral outbreaks this year, Saudi Arabia did not grant visas for people from the Congo.
- Some 350,000 air-conditioned tents have been set up to house pilgrims, a Saudi official said.