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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 20:25 GMT
In pictures: Hajj pilgrimage

Pilgrims on Jaba Al Rahma mountain near Mecca

Muslim faithful from around the world have flocked to the holy city of Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Muslim pilgrims climb Mt Arafat near Mecca

On Monday they headed to Mount Arafat, outside Mecca, and began climbing to perform the central rite of Hajj.

Muslim pilgrims climb Mt Arafat near Mecca

The rite of Wukuf, or standing, before sunset on Arafat is the high point of the Hajj, without which the pilgrimage would be deemed incomplete.

Elderly pilgrim at mosque at Mt Arafat, near Mecca

The Hajj pays tribute to the prophet Muhammad's last sermon on Mt Arafat in 632AD.

Muslims arrive at Mt Arafat during the Hajj

Muslims have come from almost every country in the world.

Young Muslim child on Mecca street

Young and old have come to Mecca, which is revered as the most holy site in Islam.

Aerial shot of Mecca

More than two million people marched to the city on Sunday for the formal beginning of the pilgrimage.

Pilgrim says prayers on top of Mt Arafat

The Hajj is known as the fifth pillar of Islam, and is a journey all able-bodied Muslims must undertake during their lives.

Man watching air ambulance helicopter land in Mecca

Authorities have taken extra precautions - such as the deployment of air ambulances - to keep the crowds safe.


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