Timeframe: Pilgrims perform the Hajj in 1948

We look at how the pilgrimage has changed over the last 70 years, and how it has stayed the same

Picture released on November 1948 of Muslim pilgrims on Hajj, at the holy city of Mecca.   / AFP PHOTO / -

This image shows the Hajj pilgrimage 70 years ago, in 1948. It was most likely taken at Mina, the Tent City, where pilgrims recite prayers and sleep the night before climbing Mount Arafat, believed to be where the Prophet Mohammed performed his final sermon. Men can be seen wearing the customary white cloth with belt, the simplicity symbolising equality among all Muslims.

Last week, the annual Hajj season began, with two million people travelling to take part. As the fifth pillar of Islam all able-bodied Muslims are obliged to make the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in their lifetime.

In centuries past, the journey would be taken on foot, and by road, rail and sea, with it taking several weeks or even months to reach the holy city. Now, Wi-Fi and phone apps are available to pilgrims, marking a striking difference between the Hajj of the past and of today.

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