News / Middle East

Muslim Hajj Pilgrimage Enters Final Stage

VOA News
Millions of Muslims are embarking on the final phase of their Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia Friday.

They are making their way to the Mina section of Mecca, beginning three days of  the last Hajj ritual of Stoning the Devil.

The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam, which enlist followers to make the journey to the birthplace of Islam at least one time if possible.

Saudi officials are said to have improved conditions for the throng of people, including adding cameras, to better monitor crowd levels. 

Six years ago, more than 340 people died in a stampede at a Hajj site.

  • Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," a rite of the annual Hajj, the Islamic faith's most holy pilgrimage, in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.
  • Youssef, 3, a Muslim pilgrim from Egypt walks with his grandfather to casts stones at a pillar near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 26, 2012.
  • A Muslim pilgrim has his head ritually shaved after he cast stones at a pillar in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, October 26, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in the early hours of October 25, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 25, 2012.
  • Crowds bow in prayer outside the mosque of the Plain of Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 25, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba to pray inside the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2012.
  • A man carries a sheep through a livestock market in Sanaa, October 24, 2012. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the Hajj by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows and camels.
  • A boy dances with a sheep at a livestock market ahead of Eid al-Adha festival in Sanaa, October 24, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray outside the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray outside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2012.
  • A Muslim pilgrim shops in a gold market in Mecca, October 23, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims leave the Grand mosque after the noon prayer in Mecca, October 22, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray outside the Grand mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 22, 2012.

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