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Muslims begin Hajj rituals in biggest pilgrimage since COVID-19

Mahdi Abbasian

Press TV, Mecca              

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from across the world have congregated in the holy city of Mecca to take part in the biggest Hajj pilgrimage since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mahdi Abbasian has a report from Mecca.

The biggest hajj pilgrimage since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic kicks off with a million Muslims performing the initial rites of the Hajj.

They begin with sporting Ihram before entering Mecca to perform the minor Hajj. Then pilgrims have to perform Tawaf or circumambulation that is circling around the Ka'aba in the Grand Mosque seven times counterclockwise.

The Ka'aba is the centerpiece of their journey. It’s the Muslims' Qibla, the direction to which they turn in prayers.

Another rite of the minor Hajj is called Sa'y. In this stage, the pilgrims travel seven times between two hills called Safa and Marva. The small mountains have now become part of the Grand Mosque. The ritual commemorates the attempt by Hajar, Prophet Abraham's wife, to find water for her thirsty son.

Pilgrims clip their nails or hair then. They are supposed to spend several days carrying out a series of rituals intended to bring them closer to God.

Hajj is regarded as one of the pillars of Islam and every Muslim, who can physically and financially afford it, must perform it at least once in a lifetime.

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