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The Hajj

  • Date Submitted: 03/21/2010 03:50 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 73.3 
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The Hajj

      Once in a lifetime a Muslim who can afford it, must complete the dangerous pilgrimage to Mecca. In 1999, an estimated 2 million Islamic pilgrims made this journey (1) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is where Muhammad was born (2). There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today (3). This journey is known as the hajj, which is the fifth and final pillar of Islam (4). This pillar is the most important of all and assures salvation to all who complete it (“Hajj”). The hajj is a ten day ceremony that can only be started between the eighth and the thirteenth day of the twelfth month on the Muslim calendar (“The Five Pillars of Islam”).
      There are many steps that must be done correctly in order to complete the hajj. The first step upon arriving in Mecca is to don the ihram (“Hajj & Umrah - Step by Step”). The men’s version of the ihram is two wrapped sheets of white fabric, whereas women wear a simple white dress. The ihram is not just an outfit though; it is a spiritual state (“How many Muslims are there?”). While in the ihram a Muslim must not harm anything from the smallest of insects to the biggest of whales. After the ihram is donned the Muslim must then visit the sacred mosque and kiss the black stone within (“Hajj & Umrah - Step by Step”). Then the Muslim must circle the Ka’bah seven times, three at a running pace and four jogging (“Hajj & Umrah - Step by Step”). Pilgrims must then visit the Naqam Ibrahim. This is the sacred stone that Abraham climbed, whilst laying the upper courses of the Ka’bah (“Hajj & Umrah - Step by Step”). After this the believers run back and forth from Mt. Saffa to Mt. Marwa; thus reenacting the search of water for baby Isma’il (“Hajj & Umrah - Step by Step”). On the ninth day of the hajj the Muslim travels to Mt. Arafat where s/he recites the pious formula under the leadership of an iman (“Hajj & Umrah - Step by Step”). Then at sunset they continue on to a valley called Mudalifah where they spend the...

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