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November 7, 2011

The Hajj and Eid al-Adha

The Hajj pilgrimage draws millions of Muslims from around the world every year to Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's holiest place. Saudi Arabia expects to host perhaps three million people in a ritual journey that every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it must make at least once in their lifetime. It is the largest annual gathering of humanity anywhere. Timed to the Muslim lunar calendar, the Hajj is followed by the celebrations of the three-day festival of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, which symbolizes Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. Collected here are photographs of the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as well as images of preparations for the Hajj and Eid al-Adha in many other parts of the Muslim world. -- Lane Turner (42 photos total)

A Muslim pilgrim prays as visits the Hiraa cave at the top of Noor Mountain on the outskirts of Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 2, 2011. According to tradition, Islam's Prophet Mohammed received his first message to preach Islam while he was praying in the cave. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

Muslim pilgrims climb a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy on the Plain of Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 5, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims move around the Kaaba (center) inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 3, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 4, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

The Mecca CLock Tower dominates the city as Muslim pilgrims walking around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of the holy city of Mecca during the annual Hajj pilgrimage rituals on November 7, 2011. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images) #

Muslim pilgrims wait in line as they arrive at Jeddah airport on October 30, 2011 before going to the Saudi holy city of Mecca, where they will take part in the annual Hajj or pilgrimage. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images) #

Muslim pilgrims pose for a picture as they rest in a street near the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on November 3, 2011. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images) #

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims move around the Kaaba (center) inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 3, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

Birds fly over Muslim pilgrims near the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on November 3, 2011. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images) #

Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy on the Plain of Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 5, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 6, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

Muslim pilgrims protect their heads from stones thrown by others at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 6, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims arrive to throw pebbles at pillars during the "Jamarat" ritual, the stoning of Satan, in Mina near the holy city of Mecca, on November 6, 2011. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Saudi police officer monitors screens connected to cameras set up at all the holy places in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2011. (Hassan Ammar/AP) #

Tents of Muslim pilgrims recede into the distance at Mina, Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2011. (Ammar Awad/Reuters) #

Hajj pilgrims cry as they prepare to depart for Mecca from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on October 18, 2011. (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters) #

Thai Muslim pilgrims offer prayers before they depart for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at the Hat Yai International airport in southern Thailand on October 5, 2011. (Muhammad Sabri/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Palestinian woman looks out of a bus carrying Muslim pilgrims on their way to the hajj in Mecca at the border between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt in Rafah on October 14, 2011. (Eyad Baba/AP) #

Indonesian pilgrims conduct a practice run of a religious ritual before a mock-up of the Kabaa, Islam's holy shrine, at a training center in Jakarta as part of final preparations before departing for the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca on October 28, 2011. For the world's largest Muslim-majority country with more than 200,000 pilgrims each year, the training is crucial in preventing chaos and casualty in the holy land, officials say. (Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images) #

Yemenis shop at a market in Sanaa on November 3, 2011, in preparation for the Eid al-Adha feast, or Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the annual hajj pilgrimage for Muslims worldwide. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images) #

Pakistani traders wait for customers to sell their livestock for the upcoming Eid-al-Adha festival in a market in Islamabad, Pakistan on November 4, 2011. (/B.K.Bangash/AP) #

A Kyrgyz vendor handles a sheep at the outdoor livestock market in Bishkek on the eve of the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival, known locally as Kurban Bairam, on November 5, 2011. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man carries a sacrificial goat on sale at a market, ahead of the Eid al-Adha feast, in Sanaa, Yemen on November 5, 2011. (Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Reuters) #

A Muslim boy attends a prayer session in celebration of the Eid al-Adha festival inside the Golden Mosque in Manila on November 6, 2011. (Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters) #

Russian Muslims pray outside St. Petersburg's mosque during the first day of the Eid al-Adha (Kurban Bairam) on November 6, 2011. (Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images) #

Palestinian youngsters enjoy a carnival ride in the Palestinian Shatila refugee camp in Beirut on November 6, 2011, as Muslims worldwide celebrate the first day of Eid al-Adha. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Yemeni soldier who defected greets a fellow Muslim after attending prayers on the first day of Eid al-Adha prayers in Sanaa on November 6, 2011. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images) #

Palestinians arrive at Damascus Gate leading into the old city of Jerusalem on their way to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, on November 6, 2011, on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images) #

Bangladeshi passengers sit on the roof of a train as they head to their homes to celebrate Eid al-Adha on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh on November 6, 2011. (Pavel Rahman/AP) #

Muslim women attend prayer on the slopes of Mount Merapi (in the background) to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha in the village of Kalitengah Lor outside city of Yogyakarta, Central Java on November 6, 2011. (Dwi Oblo/Reuters) #

Ethnic Turkish girls from the village of Cumpana, Romania perform traditional dances in Bucharest on November 6, 2011, during celebrations of the first day of Eid al-Adha. (Vadim Ghirda/AP) #

Anti-Khadafy fighters visit the graves of their friends during Eid al-Adha celebrations in Benghazi, Libya on November 6, 2011. (Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters) #

Muslims buy sheep in a bazaar in Linxia, in China's Gansu Province on November 6, 2011. Muslims in northwest China celebrated their traditional feast of Corban Festival, or Eid al-Adha, meaning "Feast of Sacrifice" Sunday. (Gao Jianjun/Xinhua/AP) #

Pakistani Muslims slaughter animals at a mosque in Lahore on November 7, 2011 during the Eid al-Adha celebrations. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images) #

Girls attend prayers marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in Abuja, Nigeria on November 6, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters) #

Muslim women perform Eid al-Adha prayers in Srinagar, Kashmir on November 7, 2011. (Danish Ismail/Reuters)#

An Afghan vendor looks for customers on the second day of the Eid al-Adha in Kabul, Afghanistan on November 7, 2011. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)#

A Muslim man attends a prayer session on Eid al-Adha in Tehran on November 7, 2011. (Editor's note: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to film or take pictures in Tehran.) (Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters) #

Residents visit the grave of a relative at a cemetery during Eid-al-Adha in Najaf, Iraq on November 7, 2011. (Ali Abu SHish/Reuters)#

Iranian Sunni Muslim men try to slaughter a camel on Eid al-Adha in Siminshahr, in a Sunni area of Iran, a country which is predominantly Shiite, on November 7, 2011. (AP)#

A young Indian Muslim girl gestures as others offer prayers during Eid al-Adha in New Delhi, India on November 7, 2011. (Gurinder Osan/AP)#

A young Indian Muslim boy smiles with a sacrificial goat on Eid-al-Adha in Allahabad, India on November 7, 2011. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)#


 
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