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What is the Hajj?

(The Conversation) — Nearly 2 million Muslim pilgrims are gathering in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for all Muslims who are able to undertake the five-day pilgrimage.

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PHOTOS: The Shiite pilgrimage Arbaeen

(RNS) Drawing an estimated 17 million pilgrims, the Shiite ritual known as Arbaeen dwarfs even the hajj. Arbaeen marks the end of the 40-day mourning period after the anniversary of the seventh-century slaying of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, which engendered the Sunni-Shiite schism.