Friday, 5 December 2008

The Hajj

Photograph © Hassan Ammar/AP-All Rights Reserved

Draped in white robes to symbolize purity and the equality of mankind under God, nearly three million Muslims from all over the world gathered Friday in Mecca, on the eve of the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca and is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. The pilgrimage is one of the fifth pillar of Islam, an obligation that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.

The ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back to the time of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isma'il, revered figures in Islam and in Judaism.

The above photograph is courtesy of the WSJ's Photo Journal