Haj: The pilgrimage in pictures

Muslim pilgrims from all over the world have congregated at the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca for the annual Haj, a five-day ritual that re-enacts the actions of Prophet Muhammad

Pilgrims throw pebbles at pillars which symbolise the stoning of Satan during the Jamarat ritual in Mina near Mecca.

Pilgrims throw pebbles at pillars which symbolise the stoning of Satan during the Jamarat ritual in Mina near Mecca. This stoning ritual goes on for two days before the festival draws to an end. (AFP)

A pilgrim prays on Mount Mercy.

Authorities have deployed drones to watch over the nearly 2 million pilgrims in the city of Mecca where at least 800 pilgrims were killed in a stampede last year. (AFP)

A sea of worshippers can be seen on Mount Mercy.

A sea of worshippers on Mount Mercy situated on the plains of Arafat, 15 km from the city of Mecca. (Reuters)

A Muslim pilgrim touches a rock on Mount Mercy to seek blessings and forgiveness.

A Muslim pilgrim touches a rock on Mount Mercy to seek blessings and forgiveness. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation over the guardianship of Islam's holiest sites.

Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation over the guardianship of Islam's holiest sites and organising haj, a role that Iran has challenged especially after last year's disaster. (Reuters)

Muslim pilgrims leave after ending their prayers at Arafat's Namira Mosque.

Muslim pilgrims leave after ending their prayers at Arafat's Namira Mosque. Pilgrims from Iran are not attending haj this year after talks between the two countries broke down over the sharing of haj arrangements. (Reuters)