Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Qur’an Surah 22: The Pilgrimage

The following is from a work-in-progress called The Qur'an: a Book Report, in which I read each surah of the Qur'an and write about what I learn. 

This surah takes its title from a story about the origin of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim is encouraged to undertake in his/her life.  According to this surah, it was Abraham who first instituted the pilgrimage, after he turned the Ka’aba (the sacred black cube in the center of Mecca) from a place of idolatry (or polytheistic worship) into a symbol of monotheism.  It was Abraham who called the followers of God to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.  In other words, this tradition is very old.

Upon arrival at the Ka’aba, pilgrims pray, purify themselves (by wearing white garments), and circle around the Ka’aba seven times.  This practice of the pilgrimage, which is one of the “Five Pillars of Islam,” continues to be a very important part of the spiritual life of Muslims, and a way for believers from all over the world to come together in an act of spiritual solidarity and devotion.  Every year, millions of Muslims make this sacred pilgrimage.

Pilgrims on Hajj in Mecca (2008)

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