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Following the 2013 Hajj (حج) on Instagram

To see more photos and videos from the 2013 Hajj, visit the Holy Ka’aba and al-Masjid al-Haram Mosque location pages or browse the #hajj and #حج hashtags.

Every year, more than three million Muslims make a pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site, Mecca. This pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, known as the Hajj (حج), takes place between the 8th and 12th days of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah (ذو الحجة), falling this year between October 14-18. The Hajj is a mandatory lifetime event for all able-bodied Muslims who are able to afford the journey, and it constitutes one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

The Hajj itself consists of many rites, the most iconic of which is known as Tawaf (طواف). For Tawaf, pilgrims enter al-Masjid al-Haram Mosque, at the center of which stands the sacred Kaaba: a cubic structure believed to be the first site of worship in the Islam faith. Pilgrims circle the Kaaba seven times counterclockwise in harmony, praying as they go.