Animal sacrifices follow, reflecting God permitting Abraham to substitute a ram for his son. This launches the start of one of Islam’s two major festivals, Eid al-Adha (“Feast of Sacrifice”), from the 10th to the 12th of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah (approximately Oct 26 - 29, 2012).

Bringing to a festive conclusion the events of the annual Hajj period, Eid al-Adha is a four-day holiday celebrated not only in Mecca, but globally – by all Muslims, worldwide.

During these final days of the Hajj, pilgrims again circumambulate the Kaaba, and again throw pebbles at the pillars representing the Devil. Following the Hajj proper, pilgrims may optionally visit nearby Medina, the second holiest city in Islam (and the location of Muhammad’s tomb).

The subjective impact and personal spiritual significance of the Hajj is not to be underestimated or underappreciated. For Muslims, going on the Hajj is a profound, deeply moving, even life-changing experience.

Read more from Reed Hall at his Religion 101 Beliefnet blog!

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