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Muslims continue hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Muslim pilgrims have their heads shaved during the annual haj pilgrimage on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 26, 2012.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

A Muslim pilgrim prays during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina, Oct. 26.

Associated Press reports — At sunset of Oct. 25, pilgrims headed to Muzdalifa, where Muslims believe prophets before Muhammad once prayed. There, they collected pebbles walking or driving to nearby Mina for Friday's symbolic stoning of the devil that marks the start of Eid al-Adha, or feast of the sacrifice, when Muslims slaughter lambs to feed the hungry.

They made the 8 kilometer journey from Mount Arafat by foot and bus caravan, where they will spend the night, as the Prophet Muhammad did during his own pilgrimage. Millions of people will sleep there in tents.

Hajj rules - based on centuries of interpretation of the Sunna, the traditions of Muhammad - are extremely elaborate. Pilgrims must all gather at certain sites at specific times. Some rites are repeated, others are partially repeated and some performed only once.

Many pilgrims being their journey in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina with a visit to Muhammad's mosque, where he is buried. They then head to Mecca and perform a set of pre-hajj rituals, including circling the Kaaba counterclockwise with their hearts tilted toward it - the same rituals that conclude the hajj for many. Full story…

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

A Muslim pilgrim sleeps next to hair from those who shaved their heads during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 26.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Muslim pilgrims cast seven stones at a pillar that symbolizes Satan during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 26.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Muslim pilgrims cast seven stones at a pillar that symbolizes Satan during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 26.

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