- Published on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 00:46
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 21527
The Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Every Muslim is told that they must go at least once in their lifetime if they can afford to do so. The pilgrimage occurs every year on dates that vary because the Islamic calendar has never been updated from a lunar base. So in 2009 it will be from November 25–29 – with the peak around November 26.
In Mecca, there is a special mosque (temple) with a central building (Ka’bah) said to have built by Abraham (around 2000BC!) and everyone walks counter-clockwise around it seven times – at peak times there are as many as 2 million walking around – and they each kiss a “Black Stone” (maybe an old meteorite?) in the corner.
There are other ceremonies that each pilgrim must perform – they are meant to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family - but the most visible is the procession around the Ka'bah. The following video shows what it looks like. The original was removed - this one is by National Geographic. Perhaps it's approved by Mulsims - it's factual and has a description but no commentary.
This is obviously a very moving “spiritual” experience for Muslims – I wonder if it’s significant that most terrorist Muslims are quite young and most likely have not participated in the Hajj. Maybe the Hajj does indeed do what it claims to do – and that is to promote oneness and cross cultural harmony.
Note that unlike Christian traditions, there is no homily, sermon or other rabble-rousing – there are just too many people and this tradition goes way back before P.A. systems were invented.
People do travel from all over the world – China estimates 12,700 people will travel to Mecca in 2009 – average age is 60 and most are flying for the first time in their life. And Indonesia expects well over 200,000 to make the pilgrimage in 2009 and like China, their Government is taking precautions against the H1N1 epidemic. The total annual number is estimated at 3 million.