What Is a Pilgrimage to Mecca?
For a billion and a half Muslims, a pilgrimage to Mecca is a religious obligation. Able-bodied Muslims who can afford it are required to join the annual trek at least once in their lives.HistoryCalled the Hajj in Arabic, the Pilgrimage is associated with Muhammad (7th Century CE); but aspects of the event date from Abraham ( 2000 BCE). Mecca, in modern Saudi Arabia, is Muhammad’s birthplace and the holiest city in Islam.SignificanceThe Hajj is the fifth Pillar (duty) of Islam. The others are declaration of faith, prayer, fasting and giving.OrganizationSaudi Arabia accommodates more than two million Hajj pilgrims every year. The Kingdom is responsible for the security and care of all religious visitors.BenefitsThe Hajj unites the faithful from many countries and cultures. A Muslim who has participated in the Hajj is honored by the use of the title “Haji.”Odd FactNon-Muslims are not welcome at the Hajj. However, Sir Richard Francis Burton, famed British Arabist and translator of the “Ara