Crown of Saudi Arabia and Muslim Pilgrimage: Mecca
Mecca is a city in Hejaz in Saudi Arabia. This city is at a height of 277m above sea level and approx 70 km inland from Jeddah. Every year millions of people visit this place during the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Mecca is regarded as the holy city in Islam and the Hajj is obligatory for all the able Muslims. Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammad and is a home to Kaaba. Mecca has an important place in the Muslim world and one of the most cosmopolitan cities but despite this fact non- Muslims are prohibited from even entering the city.
Importance of Hajj in Islam
It is important to make a visit at least once in lifetime for every Muslim man or woman if they have the means and are able to go there. It is considered as one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed during the special season. According to Muslim holy book Quraan the founder of this pilgrimage was Abraham. The main point is the Kaaba it is a 15 foot high stone which stands erectly in the center court of the Grand Mosque of Mecca. In the pilgrimage there are many stages like walking around the Kaaba seven times, sacrificing a ram, ox or camel, gathering at the Mount of Mercy and standing before God from noon to sunset, throwing pebbles at three pillars at Mina which represent Satan’s tempting Abraham not to sacrifice his son. Every year almost 2 million or more Muslims participate in the rituals of this pilgrimage and that’s the reason Saudi Arabia is exploring new ways for freezing and preserving the meat which is produced due to thousands of sacrifices. Many people are even killed during the stampedes and at the end of this pilgrimage it is compulsory to visit the tomb of Muhammad at Medina before returning home. People returning back from hajj wears a green scarf of the hajj. Usually the houses of the pilgrims were decorated with lights and palm branches and then a feast finish the welcome home ceremony.
Symbols in the Great Mosque
There are few symbols and few customs which every pilgrim do at the time of visiting the holy Mosque.
This black stone is known as “Ruby of Haven” that is placed in the eastern corner of the shrine in Mecca and known as Kaaba and is believed that Adam bought that from Garden of Eden after he was banished. The stone is actually dark reddish brown because it was once split in fire. As the pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba they are supposed to kiss the black stone or should the stone with their hand. It is a kind of ritual.
Ihram is the pilgrim’s robe. It is important that the pilgrims enter the Mecca in a state of purity so it is necessary to stop about six miles outside the city and should begin the purification process. Pilgrims after taking a ritual bath wears a certain type of cloth and it is important that a female pilgrim is covered from head to ankle and even the face is concealed and male pilgrim’s head should be covered. It is done so in order to give up everything for Allah (God) even when Muslims die they leave all their belonging and cloths and dressed in simple small pieces of cloths and Ihram is similar to that It is actually symbolic of Muslim’s equality in Allah’s eyes . Even if the pilgrims are coming by air, most pilgrims put on white robes several miles outside of Mecca at Miqat. The ones who are coming by air change into Ihram in the plane so that they won’t arrive in Miqat wearing the wrong cloths.
It is a 15 foot stone high square granite shrine which contains the black stone. It is believed to be bought by Adam from the Garden of Eden. It is placed in the eastern corner of the shrine by Abraham at Allah’s command. It is said that the footprint of Abraham can still be seen in the stone.
Tawaf means circumambulation in the courtyard of the Great Mosque. As soon as the pilgrims enter the courtyard they proceed towards the black stone and with Kaaba on their left they circle the shrine seven times. The first three rounds are done in a fast paced manner and that last ones are done bit more leisurely and after the seventh the pilgrims press their bodies against a space between the eastern corner of the door which is considered holy and in doing so they hope to absorb some blessings of virtue.
This great place holds an important place in every Muslim’s life so if you are one of them and willing to visit and want some good deals o flight and hotel booking then visit EaseMyTrip.com.