And remember the time when We assigned to Abraham the site of the House and said, ‘Associate not anything with Me, and keep My House clean for those who perform the circuits, and those who stand up and those who bow down and fall prostrate in Prayers; and proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage. They will come to thee on foot, and on every lean camel, coming by every distant track. (Al Quran 22:27-28)
(CNN) More than 2 million Muslims from around the world are spending Wednesday in prayer near Mecca in Saudi Arabia as the most important day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage gets underway.
At sunrise, pilgrims began traveling from Mina to the Plain of Arafat, spending an emotional day in reflection and repentance to symbolize a cleansing of sins and a spiritual rebirth.
The Hajj is one of the most celebrated events in the Islamic calendar and one of the world’s largest public gatherings. For most Muslims, it is the spiritual climax of their lives, with many saving for decades to be able to make the journey.
Known as the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj is an obligation upon every Muslim who has the financial means and the physical ability to perform it.