The spirit of pre-Islamic rites seems to have survived their adoption by the Prophet. The moment they set foot in Mecca, millions of pilgrims walk slowly around the Kaaba, where a stone, supposedly a meteorite, is embedded. They become like stardust revolving around a stone in outer space. Stone worship also appears to be celebrated by pilgrims on Mount Rahma, made of huge stone blocks, in the Plain of Arafat, where according to legend, Adam met Eve, and where the Prophet addressed his followers for the last time. Photographer Abbas covered the hajj four times to complete this colour essay.

Now I don’t just make stories about what’s happening. I’m making stories about my way of seeing what’s happening.

© Abbas | Magnum Photos

Abbas was an Iranian transplanted to Paris. He dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict.

In a career that spanned six decades, he covered wars and revolutions in Iran, Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. He also documented life in Mexico over several years, and pursued a lifelong interest in religion and its intersection with society.

Most recently before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. Abbas died in Paris on April 25, 2018. He was 74.

© Abbas | Magnum Photos

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