Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to the holiest city for Muslims, Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The journey is one of immense importance, with all adult Muslims having to undertake the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
However, authorities have drastically scaled down those able to go on the pilgrimage this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Hajj began on Tuesday, July 28 and will end on Sunday, August 2.
Usually around two million Muslims travel to the holy city of Mecca, and this year only 1,000 are allowed to take part.
The majority of those who make the pilgrimage normally come from abroad, however this year the only foreigners allowed to attend are those who reside in Saudi Arabia.
Click on this link here to find live streams of the event.
Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Benten said, according to a statement by the kingdom’s media ministry: “Hajj in 2020 is a truly exceptional pilgrimage by all measures.
“Due to the exceptional global health circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, strict precautionary measures have been applied to ensure a healthy Hajj for all pilgrims.”
When Hajj ends, Muslims will celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha, which in Arabic translates to ‘festival of the sacrifice’.
Eid al Adha commemorates the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son for Allah.
Allah asked Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, as a sign of his faith.
This is similar to the Christian and Jewish stories where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac but saved him from doing so at the last moment.
Instead of Ishmael being sacrificed, a lamb was instead, which is why many Muslims sacrifice and eat lamb for Eid.
Eid al Adha is the second holiest festival in the Islamic calendar, the first being Eid al Fitr.
The Festival of the Sacrifice lasts approximately four days, and Muslims gather to indulge in food, say prayers and give gifts to friends and family.
However, celebrations may be muted this year with restrictions in place to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Many Muslims may be opting to virtually celebrate with family and friends in accordance with travel restrictions.