For all Muslims, the Hajj is a required pilgrimage that one must take during their lifetime. Last week marked the end of this year’s pilgrimage, where approximately 2 million men and women from around the world gathered in Mecca to perform rituals and worship Allah.

In a such a joyous and spiritually uplifting experience, one should assume that social difficulties should be left at the door to make way for Allah. Unfortunately, the problems Muslim women face are still prevalent during the Hajj. Islam was once prided for its forward beliefs regarding women, yet currently the rights of Islamic women and their roles as women are difficult and frustrating to navigate. For example, during the Hajj, women are only allowed to participate as long as they have a male guardian to accompany them. This becomes difficult for many who struggle to go due to that rule, yet their faith commands them to make the pilgrimage.

The article from the New York Times shows the opposing ideals, saying, ‘Each day in Mecca provided powerful reminders of a religion that seems to simultaneously embrace women and push them away”. While many improvements have been and are being made to the gender roles in the Islamic faith, there are still battles to be fought on the cultural side where those ideals are deeply rooted into everyday life

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