Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pilgrimage to Mecca 2010. (1 of the 5 pillars of Islam.)

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"To learn about a religion is to understand its people"
Hajj (Arabic: حجḤajj) is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia
It is currently the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.
The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).
The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendarIhram is the name given to the special state in which Muslims live whilst on the pilgrimage. used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year.
The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of AbrahamIbrahim). Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: (
  1. Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer,
  2. Runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah.
  3. Drink from the Zamzam Well.
  4. Stan vigil on the plains of Mount Arafat..
  5. Throw stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil.
  6. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha.
As of 2009, about two million pilgrims participate in this annual pilgrimage.crowd-control techniques have become critical, and because of the large numbers of people, many of the rituals have become more stylized. It is not necessary to kiss the Black Stone, but merely to point at it on each circuit around the Kaaba. Throwing pebbles was done at large pillars, which for safety reasons in 2004 were changed to long walls with catch basins below to catch the stones. The slaughter of an animal can be done either personally, or by appointing someone else to do it, and so forth. But even with the crowd control techniques, there are still many incidents during the Hajj, as pilgrims are trampled in, crush or ramps collapse under the weight of the many visitors, causing hundreds of deaths. Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the "lesser pilgrimage", or Umrah. However, even if one chooses to perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some other point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so.

Hajj 2010

Yesterday marked the start of the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Press Agency said that a record number of Muslims were expected to make the Hajj this year - over 3.4 million anticipated over the five days of the pilgrimage.
More than two-and-a-half million Muslims are traveling to Saudi Arabia this week for Hajj. This is the biggest gathering of people anywhere, and it will be bigger than ever this year. Even in the world's richest oil company, that much tourism has an economic impact. In 2010 tourism is expected to generate $17.6 billion -- nearly 4 percent of the Kingdom's GDP.
Contractors are also cashing in on the pilgrimage, including a projected $40 billion investment in hotels and accommodations and a $5.3 billion rail deal with China.
  
Ask yourself:
  • What do you know about Islam?
  • Are the broadcast of national media your only knowledge of Islam?
  • Are you scared of Islam or Muslims?

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