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Muslims must make the Hajj at least once in a lifetime if they can afford it. Usually pilgrims go on a seven day roundtrip around the religious sites. The Kaaba is a holy place for Muslims and shows Muslims that each and every Muslim is equal in the eyes of God, and that he or she must be willing to give up anything are do anything for him. When on the pilgrimage special plain clothes should be worn. Men wear two pieces of white cloth that form a robe while women wear ordinary clothes long enough to cover the body from head to foot.
The Hajj differs from an ordinary pilgrimage, Umrah, as it can only happen at a certain time of the year. The right time of the year is from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj is eleven days earlier from year to year.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is very popular as millions of Muslims visit the Islamic city each year.
As of September 9, 2012[update], the Saudi government asked old and sick Muslims not go to hajj this year and have limited the numbers of people allowed into the country due to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
- Kaddah, May (November 2008). "Hajj: A guide to the spiritual and secular journey". Egypt Today. http://www.egypttoday.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=8254. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
- Robinson, B.A. (13 December 2006). "About Islam: The Hajj : Pilgrimage to Mecca". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. http://www.religioustolerance.org/isla1.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-21. "Approximately two million Muslims went in 1999, of which about one million were from Saudi Arabia, and 6,000 were from the U.S. Council on American-Islamic Relations estimated in 2006 that "some 10,000 American Muslims go on Hajj each year.""
- "MERS virus claims three more lives in Saudi Arabia". AFP. September 7, 2013 8:42 PM. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. http://archive.is/Kbpx5. Retrieved 8 September 2013.