Hajj 2012, a Sacred Journey

The Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam and one of the largest religious pilgrimages in the world, is currently taking place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Starting earlier this week, and continuing through Monday, approximately 3.4 million Muslims from around the world are participating in several rituals, including the Tawaf -- the circumambulation of the Kaaba, the enormous cube-shaped building in the center of the Masjid al-Haram mosque. The pilgrims are are also taking part in the Sa'i, traveling back and forth between the mountains of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, and Ramy al-Jamarat, in which they throw pebbles at three walls in the city of Mina to show their defiance of the Devil. The rituals and locations date back to the 7th Century, but much of the surrounding area has grown and changed radically over the years. For comparison, I've included several historical images of Mecca as well, dating back as far as 1889. The rest of the photos depict this year's Hajj and the pilgrims on their sacred journey.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    A Weekend of Protest in St. Louis

    On Friday, a judge in St. Louis found Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man named Anthony Lamar Smith.

  • Edgard Garrido / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 9/9–9/15

    Hurricanes Jose and Irma, an earthquake in Mexico, Cassini’s grand finale above Saturn, and much more

  • Mats Andersson / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

    Finalists from the annual photo competition produced by the Natural History Museum in London

  • Caribbean Buzz Helicopters via AP

    The Wreckage Left in Irma's Path Across the Caribbean and Southeastern United States

    Days after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Caribbean and several U.S. states, government officials and residents are beginning to assess the widespread damage, pick up the pieces, and figure out their next steps.

Join the Discussion