hajj pilgrimage - 2011

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  • Hajj pilgrimage toMeccaNovember 2011Muslims make their way to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual hajj pilgrimage. The five-day observance, which ended Tuesday, draws up to 3 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.

    Chanting "God is great," millions of Muslims on Sunday stoned pillars representing the devil in a symbolic rejection of temptation on the second day of their annual hajj pilgrimage, a day that also marks the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.Vast crowds cast pebbles as they flowed past the three pillars, which now resemble curved walls, in a four-level sprawling concrete structure built to expedite the flow of pilgrims. The ritual will be repeated for two more days, with participants eventually throwing stones at all three pillars.The ritual in the desert valley of Mina commemorates Abraham's stoning of the devil, who is said to have appeared three times to the prophet to tempt him.

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  • The Grand Mosque is seen from the top of the Hira cave near Mecca. November 2, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto; Hassan Ammar

  • November 2, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan AmmarA Muslim pilgrim prays as visits the Hiraa cave at the top of Noor Mountain.

  • Muslim pilgrims visit the Hiraa cave, at the top of Noor Mountain.November 2, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Birds fly over Muslim pilgrims near the Grand Mosque.November 3, 2011 - Saudi holy city of Mecca Photo: Fayez Nureldine

  • Photo: Hassan AmmarTens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims move around the Kaaba (center) inside the Grand Mosque.November 3, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims move around the Kaaba, seen at center, inside the Grand Mosque.November 3, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque.Nov. 3, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gather at the Grand Mosque.Photo: Wang BoNovember 3, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray outside and inside the Grand Mosque.November 3, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray outside and inside the Grand Mosque.November 3, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray inside the Grand Mosque.November 4, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims head to pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat.November 4, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims head to pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat near Mecca. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2.5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.Photo: Hassan AmmarNovember 4, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray inside the Grand Mosque.Novemer 4, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Saudi special forces stand guard as Muslim pilgrims pray during Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque.Novemer 4, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims pray in the shade of on of the minarets of the Grand Mosque. Novemer 4, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat.November 4, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrim pray outside Namira mosque in Arafat.Novemer 5, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrim pray outside Namira mosque in Arafat.Novemer 5, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims climb a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat.Novemer 5, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims climb a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy on the Plain of Arafat. Novemer 5, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • On Saturday, the second day of the hajj pilgrimage, Muslims gather in the desert plain of Arafat.Photo: Amel PainNovemer 5, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat.Novemer 5, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat.Novemer 5, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslims arrive in Mina on Sunday for the stoning ritual. Photo: Ammar AwadNovemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • Thousands of Muslim pilgrims arrive to throw pebbles at pillars during the "Jamarat" ritual, the stoning of Satan, in Mina near the holy city of Mecca.Photo: Fayez NureldineNovemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • A crowd of Muslim pilgrims make their way to throw cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina.Novemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim women pilgrims make their way to throw cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj.Novemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.Photo: Hassan AmmarNovemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina.Novemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Novemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan AmmarMuslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina.

  • Novemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan AmmarMuslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina.

  • Muslim pilgrims protect their heads from stones thrown by others at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina.Photo: Hassan AmmarNovemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

  • Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina.Novemer 6, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • The Mecca CLock Tower dominates the city as Muslim pilgrims walking around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of the holy city of Mecca during the annual Hajj pilgrimage rituals.Novemer 7, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Fayez Nureldine

  • Tents of Muslim pilgrims recede into the distance at Mina, Saudi Arabia.Novemer 7, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaAmmar Awad

  • Mina, Saudi Arabia Muslims cast stones at a pillar symbolizing the devil as part of one of the hajj rituals called jamarah on Tuesday. Novemer 8, 2011 - Mecca, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: Hassan Ammar

  • Photo: Cheryl Ravelo http://www.slideshare.net/mericelene

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