It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is considered a duty for all Muslims who are in good health and can afford the journey to Mecca. It takes place during the month called Dhu al-Hijjah. Hajj has many rituals including tawaf (the circumambulation of the Ka‘bah) .
Mecca is important to Muslims for a number of reasons. The Prophet was from Mecca and returned there before his death. The Hira cave, on Jabal al-Nour, is reportedly where the Prophet received his first revelation.
Islam is also an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion that is strongly rooted in the traditions associated with Judaism and Christianity. Muslims believe that Mecca is the place where Abraham and Ishmael built the Ka‘bah. According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad returned the Ka‘bah to its former status as a monotheistic site, rescuing it from the polytheism that had taken it over in previous centuries.
There has been a substantial increase in the number of pilgrims during the last 100 years, particularly among foreign pilgrims.
Traditionally, the pilgrimage to Mecca was mainly an overland journey using camels as a means of transport. During the second half of the nineteenth century steamships and railways began to be used This continued for some time until air travel came to predominate; Egypt introduced the first airline service for Hajj pilgrims in 1937.Today, many airlines and travel agents offer Hajj packages, and arrange for transportation and accommodation for the pilgrims.[
In 2017, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj was owas almost two million .
Between 1940 and 1945, foreign pilgrims were restricted from arriving in Saudi Arabia as a result of WW2. All pilgrimages from 2020 were restricted as the country deals with the Coronovirus pandemic .