Thousands of Muslims in early July began arriving in Saudi Arabia via the Mecca Road Initiative for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which begins on August 9, and around three million more – the annual average – are set to follow in the coming weeks.
A basic how-to guide for performing Hajj
As part of ihram, men and women must adhere to a specific modest dress code. Men wear unstitched white garments, while women wear regular clothes and a headscarf. Women are forbidden from wearing the burqa or niqab.
The word ihram is derived from the Arabic term tahreem, which means prohibited. Because the state is believed to be characterized by spiritual purity, there are certain acts that pilgrims are not allowed to commit. Among them are using perfume, cutting hair or nails, and slaughtering animals.
Tawaf is thought to express the unity of all Muslims in worshipping one God. The circuits are marked by al-Hajar al-Aswad, or the Black Stone, located at the southeastern corner of the Kaaba.
Day of Arafat
The Eid al-Adha festival, or the Feast of Sacrifice, is celebrated by Muslims who are not on the pilgrimage by slaughtering animals to mark Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail upon the command of God.
Pilgrims spend three days stoning pillars that represent the devil. They later either slaughter an animal, such as a sheep or a cow, or purchase tokens to have this done for them.