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The Hajj: A Leap In The Faith Of Religion

1399 words - 6 pages

It is reported that roughly 80 percent of the American population identify themselves with a specific religion, but what portion of those individuals do you believe would be willing to travel possibly hundreds of miles while risking their health and lives in order to pledge their faith? For a certain religious affiliation, this is merely an additional way to declare their service to the Almighty. For Muslims throughout the world this journey is known as the Hajj; a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca (or Makkah in Arabic), the most sacred place in Islam (Littleton).The pilgrimage occurs from the 10th to the 15th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Once in Mecca, some two million Muslims perform a series of rituals in the name of Allah within about a ten mile radius of the city (Lang 220). A very unique ritual, the Hajj is unlike any other ritual preformed in all other religions. In fact, the Hajj is the only type of ritual of this nature. Exceptional not only in physical manifestation, the pilgrimage to Mecca also holds a great deal of significance over the rituals of other religions. Whether it be that the followers of other religions do not have as powerful a conviction for their divinities, or perhaps that they just do not understand the aspects of their faith that give those individuals such meaning, it can be generally stated that the Hajj holds more importance over its God than other rites and rituals do for theirs.The Hajj is incredibly important to the Muslim peoples. On a minute scale, it can be viewed as a way of proving to their God Allah that they are devoted to their religion. Although this is the underlying reason for nearly all other pilgrimages associated with religion, the ties that the Muslim people have to their God are significantly stronger than those associated with other religious peoples and their God or Gods. The connection with Allah is so great that the entire foundation of Muslim life is based on the declaration of faith, and is done so through what is known as The Five Pillars of Islam. The pillars are a written explanation of the required duties incumbent on every Muslim.The Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, and according to Marshall Hodgson it is the "most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity." Undertaking the Hajj at least once is a duty for Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey to Mecca. The emphasis on financial ability is meant to ensure that a Muslim takes care of his family first (Hodgson). The pilgrimage is the religious high point of a Muslim's life and an event that every Muslim dreams of undertaking. Even though it is so desired, it does not come without consequences. Lang describes that while performing their honorable duty, the pilgrims must deal with the problems of getting there, performing the required rites, and getting out again without dying from heat or disease, or from the unfriendly attention of some of the peoples of the...

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