Saudi: Millions of Muslims begin hajj pilgrimage
Nearly 3 million Muslim pilgrims from about 100 countries have converged in a valley just outside the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia as they began the 5-day hajj pilgrimage, AP reported.
The pilgrims left Mecca on Saturday after completing the first ritual of the hajj by circling the sacred Kaaba stone structure seven times inside the Grand Mosque, which Muslims all over the world face during their five daily prayers.
Dressed in white, pilgrims piled into and on top of buses on their way to a ritual of prayer and reflection at a tent city in Mina.
The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every able-bodied Muslim who can financially afford to is required to perform it at least once in his or her lifetime.