MECCA, Saudi Arabia – The Hajj ( حج ) is a pilgrimage of pagan origin to Mecca. It is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. It is 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.
This is the final day of the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims who can afford it are required to make at least once in a lifetime.
Saudi officials estimate that nearly three million Muslims have taken part in this year’s hajj, which began Saturday.
The pilgrims hope to cleanse themselves from sin with the rites at Islam’s holiest sites. On Tuesday, for a second day, they filed past three walls symbolizing Satan, stoning each with seven pebbles in a symbolic ritual of rejecting temptation and evil.
Today’s final ritual is a “farewell” circling of the Kaaba, the cube-shaped stone structure draped in black cloth that Muslims around the world face during their five daily prayers.