Hajj stories around the world | the spiritual journey of life time

Following the footstep of Abraham, the father of 3 major monotheistic faith, the sacred Pilgrimage, Hajj is now in the process of start. Muslims from all over the world are taking part in the largest religious and spiritual gathering on Earth, the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. During these historic days, white, brown and black people, rich and poor, kings and peasants, men and women, old and young will all stand before God, all brothers and sisters, at the holiest of shrines in the center of the Muslim world, where all will call upon God to accept their good deeds. The Hajj resembles the re-enactment of the experiences of the Prophet Abraham, whose selfless sacrifice has no parallel in the history of humankind.

This great annual convention of faith demonstrates the concept of equality of mankind, the most profound message of Islam, which allows no superiority on the basis of race, gender or social status. The only preference in the eyes of God is piety as stated in the Quran: "The best amongst you in the eyes of God is most righteous."

While Malcolm X was in Mecca performing his pilgrimage, he wrote to his assistants: "They asked me what about the Hajj had impressed me the most. . . . I said, 'The brotherhood! The people of all races, colors, from all over the world coming together as one! It has proved to me the power of the One God.' ... All ate as one, and slept as one. Everything about the pilgrimage atmosphere accented the oneness of man under one God."

This is what the Hajj is all about. via the Sunday Times.

All three monotheistic faiths retain a secure place for the pilgrimage (Arabic-Hajj). In Judaism, the practice of pilgrimage goes back to the feast described in Deuteronomy 16:16 – the feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and the feast of Booths (Succot), and in Christianity travel to the Holy Lands of Jerusalem is the place of pilgrimage. In Islam, the Hajj is virtually unique in its worldwide participation and sheer size. credit

Following are few of the stories about Muslims around the world who are joining this extra-ordinary experience of lifetime.

The hajj is often described as the world's biggest religious gathering, and men and women from more than 100 countries take part. Some of the largest contingents come from Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. "See how people come from all over the world - Chinese, Pakistani, Algerians, even Americans. It shows that we are all brothers," said an Algerian who gave his name as Ibrahim. via Reuters Africa.

. Saudi embassies and consulates around the world granted visas to 1,575,214 pilgrims this year. Indonesian pilgrims topped the list with 214,886 visas, while Argentina had the smallest number at 15. Notably, there was a considerable increase in Chinese pilgrims this year - their number exceeded 10,000 for the first time. via Greater Kashmir

. American Muslims Travel to Mecca for Annual Pilgrimage | More young professionals choose to perform the Hajj. In 2006, more than 15,000 Americans were among the 2.5 million people making the annual pilgrimage

. About 25,000 British Muslims will travel to Mecca this week to take part in the hajj. They will join almost 2 million Muslims, from around the world, including 214,000 from Indonesia and 15 from Argentina. via Guardian.co.uk

. India’s presence will definitely be felt because India is sending the second largest contingent of Hajjis (Haj pilgrims) after Indonesia. Around 152,000 pilgrims from India would be performing Haj pilgrimage this year.via ThaiIndian News

. A record number of Russian Muslims are expected to go to Saudi Arabia for this year's Hajj. Around 26,000 from across the country are heading to Mecca, including at least 500 pilgrims from Moscow. via Russia Today

First group of Muslim pilgrims from Tatarstan to set off for Mecca. A total of 1,550 pilgrims from various parts of Russia will go on the hajj through the SDMT Idel-Hajj Fund, which is 1.3 times more than in 2006. via Interfax

This year, the Saudis increased the quota for Russian pilgrims to 26,000 people from 20,000, and despite estimated costs of $2,000 to $3,000 a person for the trip. Chechnya is sending about 3,000 pilgrims for the five-day pilgrimage via NY Times

. Aziz Rahimi, a 126-year-old man from Kordestan province, and Faraham Ahmadi from northwestern Ardebil province, a two-month-old baby are among the oldest and the youngest Iranians attending this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. 102,000 Iranians have been sent to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj ritual along with millions of other Muslims from various countries. via Tehran Times

. Palestanians begin Hajj pilgrimage | Hundreds of Palestinian pilgrims crossed into Egypt Monday on their way to Saudi Arabia. Israel has allowed small numbers of Gaza residents to pass through its territory and into neighboring Egypt for humanitarian reasons. But this was the first time Gazans have been allowed to pass directly into Egypt since the Hamas takeover. Up to 3,000 total Palestinian pilgrims were expected to pass the border this week, said the Egyptian officials.

. A record 10,700 Chinese Muslims are expected to make a pilgrimage.

. Austrian Muslims head to Makkah to perform Hajj. Austrian Muslims, from European, Turkish, Balkan, and Arab origins, are about 400,000 and Islam is the second wide spread religion here after Christianity.

. About 4,800 Filipino hajjis will join over 2.6 million people making the holy pilgrimage.


... continue to be update.

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Technology of the Heart: Hajj stories around the world | the spiritual journey of life time
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