For young Muslims, Hajj pilgrimage reawakens Islamic values
(CNN) -- Each year, more than 3 million Muslims commit to Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that represents the fifth and final "pillar" of Islam and the largest annual human gathering on the planet. Every Muslim who is physically and financially able to do so is expected to make this pilgrimage once in their lifetime.
As described in the Hadith of Gabriel, each pillar of Islam acts as a guide to day-to-day conduct for Muslims, outlining proper professions to God, prayer and spiritual mindfulness, not unlike the Book of Common Prayer for Catholics and Protestants or Judaism's Siddur.
For this year's Hajj, iReporters from around the world documented their journeys, describing their experiences as they complete this Islamic sacrament. Thanks to the power of social media and platforms like CNN's iReport, they've been able to share their faith with the world, giving Muslims and non-Muslims alike a glimpse of the significance of this powerful and transformative event.
The 2011 Hajj also holds special significance for Muslims in the wake of the Arab Spring this year. Though the pilgrimage has traditionally been thought of as an undertaking for middle-aged or senior Muslims, increasing numbers of young pilgrims have been making the trip to Mecca in the past decade.