The Eighth month of the Islamic calendar symbolizes the start of the complete, holy pilgrimage of Islam. Two million Muslims come from all over the world to participate in this extremely sacred custom. Pilgrims flock to the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia to offer their sacrifice, throw stones at the 3 columns that represent Satan, pray on Mount Arafat, and circumambulate the Kaaba. The Kaaba is the traditional site for where Abraham worship the one true God- it is significant because it is recognized as the first ‘House of God.’
I particularly enjoyed this article because it explained some of the technicalities that arise when one takes a pilgrimage to the Hajj. The article is written, telling the experience of a Muslim woman visiting the holy site for the first time. In it she tells of the impersonal way one sacrifices an animal, how Mount Arafat isn’t able to be kept perfectly clean, and how the pilgrims living conditions are as they take on this pilgrimage.
This summer I had the opportunity to live in The Holy City- Jerusalem. The second holiest site for Muslims. Again, many Muslim pilgrims traveled from all over to come visit the Dome of the Rock. I saw first hand how truly devoted the faithful pilgrims were. I gained a great respect for all the people who sacrificed so much money and time in an attempt to feel a deeper connection to God. I was surprised by how similar I found my beliefs, as a Christian, to be to the beliefs of Muslims and Jews. Although there are very strict differences- there are also many fundamental similarities. Extremely devoted saints, a belief in one God, and a desire to be close to/follow Him are only three of many examples.