In a special message to the world Muslims, US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama extended greetings to Muslims on `Eid Al-Adha, congratulating them on the annual pilgrimage as the largest most diverse gathering.
"Muslim Americans are among the millions of pilgrims joining one of the world's largest and most diverse gatherings," Obama said in a statement cited by the Daily Sabah on Sunday, October 5.
"Hajj brings together Muslims from around the world -Sunni and Shiite- to share in reverent prayer, side by side."
The first day of the three-day stoning ritual began Saturday, October 4, the first day of `Eid Al-Adha, at Jamrat Al-Aqaba.
`Eid Al-Adha, or "Feast of Sacrifice”, marks the end of the Hajj season and is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Fitr.
A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares with six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during the four-day `Eid Al-Adha celebrations.
The ritual commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail to Allah as an act of obedience and submission.
The Udhiyah meat is divided in three equal parts, one each for one's own family, friends and the poor.
In his special message, Obama said that `Eid celebrations serve as a reminder that no matter one's tribe or sect, race or religion, gender or age, we are equals in humanity.
"On `Eid, Muslims continue the tradition of donating to the poor and joining efforts with other faith communities in providing assistance to those suffering from hunger, sickness, oppression, and conflict," Obama said in his statement.
"Their service is a powerful example of the shared roots of the world's Abrahamic faiths and how our communities can come together in shared peace, with dignity and a sense of justice."