Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, explained for non-Muslims

At this moment, some 1.3 million people from 164 different countries are in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performing the hajj, the Islamic religious pilgrimage — including, according to the US State Department, approximately 15,000 Americans.

It’s a huge event — in terms of both its significance in Islam and the massive logistical challenge of having that many people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe descend on one relatively small place all at once.

But what actually goes on at the hajj? What is its religious and political significance? How do they handle all those people? And what is inside that big black box?

We’ve got you covered: Here are the most basic answers to the most basic questions about the hajj, explained so that anyone can understand them.

Read More: VOX

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