The Hajj is once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage that every able bodied and financially able Muslim must make to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Hajj, being one of Islam's core religious duties, is taken very seriously by the Muslims and every year millions travel to Saudi Arabia to offer it.
Over the years, Saudi Arabia has expanded the holy mosques in the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of pilgrims.
However, every year, the season of Hajj sees some form or other of a tragedy – fires and stampedes being the most common and recurring.
It wasn’t just the accidents that were tragic – the attitude and response from the Saudi government is just as harrowing as the events themselves because it makes it more likely years of tragedies are to come.
The Saudi authorities not only held back the real numbers of the casualties but also delayed, and in many cases even denied, access to dead bodies and information about missing persons.
Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran lost the largest number of pilgrims and has accused the kingdom of mismanagement and called for an independent body to oversee the Hajj.
But the kingdom refuses any help offered by others.
Talking to the Associated Press in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal rejected the idea of sharing the administration of the annual pilgrimage with other Muslim nations, saying they consider it "a matter of sovereignty" and a "privilege."
Strange behavior from the people who title themselves the “Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques” (Masjid-al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid-al-Nabwi in Medina), isn’t it?
But audaciousness of this level isn't really that unbelievable when it comes to the oil-rich kingdom ruled by the oppressive Saud clan.