They call it the greatest journey on Earth. About 1.7 million Muslims are now in Saudi Arabia for Hajj, the pilgrimage that is required of all Muslims once in a lifetime.
Among the many pilgrims making the journey back in 1979, was the UAE's late President, Sheikh Zayed.
Hajj took place in the cooler months of October and November that year and in some of these photographs, we can see Sheikh Zayed sitting on the floor, wearing simple white robes and praying along with other pilgrims.
The photos are part of broader exhibition called Hajj: Memories of a Journey that opens on September 20 at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
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The exhibition, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the mosque’s opening, will explore the historical and arduous routes that pilgrims took to reach Saudi Arabia. It will also include a rare interview of Sheikh Zayed at Mina in Saudi Arabia discussing the purpose of Hajj and addressing political issues of the time.
Sheikh Zayed throughout his life supported Hajj pilgrims and his legacy is with us today. This year, the UAE’s official Hajj Mission has distributed 153,000 meals to pilgrims in his memory. For more information visit www.szgmc.ae.