In Saudi Arabia, at least two million Muslims swarmed the Kaaba in the middle of Mecca’s Grand Mosque to begin their annual hajj pilgrimage.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 22, 2015
— khalidamanzar (@koolkm) September 22, 2015
— Mohammad Ishtiaq (@moh_ishtiaq786) September 22, 2015
All “able-bodied” Muslims must make the hajj pilgrimage at least once in their lives. Hajj is one of “the five main pillars of Islam, which also include belief in the oneness of God and the Prophet Muhammad as his final messenger, five daily prayers facing toward the Kaaba, annual charity and fasting during the month of Ramadan.” The pilgrims must “shed symbols of materialism,” as women refuse to wear makeup and don loose clothes. All men wear a loose white robe to appear as equals.
— AJE News (@AJENews) September 21, 2015
Ugandan fish seller woman saves money for 10 years to make it to Hajj http://t.co/kCJrCxjhFQ May Allah accept her hajj and reward her Ameen
— Jesus Moses (@XAyanle) September 21, 2015
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) September 22, 2015
Translation: 4,000 Yemeni pilgrims arrive in Mecca.
— شامل نيوز (@shamlnews) September 22, 2015
— Ethar El-Katatney (@etharkamal) September 22, 2015
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) September 22, 2015
The pilgrims then proceed to reenact Ibrahim’s wife’s journey. Ahram Online reports:
In Mecca, they circle the Kaaba counterclockwise seven times and re-enact the journey of Ibrahim’s wife, Hagar, who Muslims believe ran between two hills searching for water for her dying son. Islamic tradition holds that God then brought forth a spring that runs to this day, and Muslims drink from it during the hajj.
Since arriving in Mecca over the past several weeks, hundreds of thousands have chanted, “Labayk Allahuma Labayk,” or “Here I am, God, answering your call. Here I am.”
Saudi Arabia also displayed advanced security systems to keep Muslim travelers safe from potential disruptions. Others provided medical services.
Translation: Watchful eyes of the security camera. 5,000 – 100,000 security men provide security and safety for the pilgrims.
— هاشتاق العرب (@TheArabHash) September 21, 2015
Translation: A man stands over and helps pilgrims after he loses consciousness due to the heat.
— مغردون للوطن (@wa6ani_1) September 22, 2015
Translation: Mecca youth continue to provide humanitarian services.
— صحيفة سبق (@sabqorg) September 22, 2015
Translation: A procession of majestic ambulances in Arabia to transport sick pilgrims to perform Hajj.
— خالد أحمد اليوسف (@khalida01429395) September 22, 2015
Translation: Men provide humanitarian services to children and elderly pilgrims.
اللحظه الإنسانية لرجال أمن الحج وهم يساعدون ضيوف الرحمن ويأخذون بيد كبار السن والأطفال pic.twitter.com/OwATK2Q10V
— محامي/ مشاري العيادة (@Mashari_al3yada) September 22, 2015
Rain fell on the pilgrims as night fell, offering much needed relief from the afternoon heat.
— Basma Atassi | بسمة (@Basma_) September 22, 2015
Tent cities popped up to house the pilgrims.
— Mohammed Al-Omar (@alomarmao) September 22, 2015
— Muhammad Ahmed (@itsmahmed) September 22, 2015
Weeks before the hajj began, a crane collapsed and killed hundreds of Muslim pilgrims at the Grand Mosque. A sandstorm and strong thunderstorm caused the equipment to fall. The kingdom is expanding the landscape due to the overwhelming amount of people who attend each year. In April, the government announced construction workers finished 95% of the Grand Mosque’s expansion, “thanks to 30 months of non-stop work ordered by the late Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.” Reuters reported the government limited the number of pilgrims to Mecca last year due to construction.