Many Muslims around the world have begun the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Hajj is the journey made by Muslims to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
It takes place each year during Dhu al-Hijjah, which is the final month of the Islamic calendar.
This year, millions of Muslims from across the world will make the journey to Mecca from 9 to 14 August.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. These are the five key acts which every Muslim is expected to do in their lifetime. The other important acts are:
- Shahadah – A declaration of faith that every Muslim has to make
- Salat – Muslims pray at specific times five times a day
- Zakat – those within the faith give away a portion of their income to help those in need
- Sawm – Muslims fast for a month during Ramadan
Muslims are required to make the journey to Mecca at least once in their life if they are physically able and can afford to do so.
Why is Mecca so important?
Mecca is the place where the Islamic religion started and is significant for two reasons.
Firstly, it is where the prophet Muhammad was born.
Secondly, it is where he received the first revelations from Allah (Allah is the Arabic word for God) that went on to become the Koran – the holy book read by Muslims.