Millions of Hajj pilgrims began heading back to Mecca for final prayers on Tuesday as the world’s largest annual pilgrimage went off without incident despite the logistical challenges and escalating regional tensions, Reuters reports.
Even with some heavy rainfall, senior officials said there had been no major incidents and that the Hajj experience for nearly 2.5 million visitors was safe and successful.
More than 120,000 members of the security forces and more than 30,000 health workers were on hand this week to maintain safety and provide first aid, according to Reuters and Saudi officials.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has commended the successful efforts of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health during the Hajj season.
Photographers documenting the massive pilgrimage took dramatic pictures from the air, showing the pilgrims taking part in the sacred rites of Hajj. Business Insider shared 15 photos that show the size and scale of the annual event.
As one of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are required to perform the Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime.