Pilgrimage To Mecca

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Islam, means Arabic, 'submitting oneself to God', which is one of the major world religions, and the youngest of the 3 Monotheistic religions developed in the Middle East. It is a religious and social system which is based on the teachings of Mohammed as preserved in the Koran and Sunna that generates instructions governing all aspects of the personal and communal life of Muslims. Islam reveals a religious faith and sets forth certain rituals.

There are essential Islamic practices, known as the Pillar of Islam. The fifth Pillars of Islam is the Great Pilgrimage or Hajj to the sacred monuments near in Mecca, takes place of the eighth day of the month of Hijjah on the Islamic lunar calendar. It has been taking place annually without a break for 1,400 years. Today as before, every adult Muslim is required to do at least once in a lifetime to make this journey.

From before the time of Muhammad, these rituals have been divided into two groups, the 'umra'(visitation), sometimes called the 'Lesser Pilgrimage', which takes place in and near the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and can be performed at any time of the year, the Hajj (pilgrimage), which begins in Mecca and proceeds out to 'Arafat and back and is performed only on certain days of the month of Dhul-I-Hijja. Mecca marks the direction in which all Muslims pray. It is also the birthplace of the prophet Muhammad, who defined Islam, and is strongly associated with the lives of Hagar, Abraham and Ishmael, figures known to every Muslim child. For all these reasons, when time comes to make the pilgimage to Mecca, 'Hajj', is a duty and desire converge of all Muslims able to perform it ; each year over a million pilgrims arrive. The Hajj is not a single...