A very small, limited number of people wearing the white terrycloth garment symbolic of the Muslim pilgrimage circled Islam's holiest site in Mecca after Saudi Arabia lifted coronavirus restrictions that had been in place for months.
The kingdom took the rare step in March of suspending the smaller "umrah" pilgrimage, which draws millions from across the world all year round, as the coronavirus morphed into a global pandemic and prompted countries to impose lockdowns and curfews to slow down transmission.
But as nations begin to ease those restrictions, on Sunday the Saudi government started allowing a maximum of 6000 pilgrims a day to enter the sprawling Grand Mosque in Mecca.
Only Saudi citizens and residents will be permitted to enter the mosque during this first phase of reopening, and each person has up to three hours to complete the pilgrimage.
The Grand Mosque, which is being sterilised and cleaned multiple times a day, houses the cube-shaped Kaaba that observant Muslims pray towards five times a day.
Before visitors can enter the mosque to pray or perform the umrah, they have to apply and reserve a specific time and date through an online application to avoid crowding and maintain social distancing.
The second phase for loosening restrictions at the Grand Mosque comes into effect on October 18, allowing a maximum of 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 for prayer from among residents and citizens based on allocated times via the app.
Muslim travellers from outside Saudi Arabia could be allowed to perform the umrah pilgrimage as early as November 1, the interior ministry has said.