Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Hajj |
In the footsteps of Muhammad

Hajj is drawn from Chapter Four, beginning on page 118, of Volume Five, The Sword of Islam of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit www.TheChristians.info.

For fourteen centuries millions of Muslims have flocked to the birthplace of the Prophet

Hajj - In the footsteps of Muhammad

Hajj – In the footsteps of Muhammad
The impressive development of Mecca’s Sacred Mosque to the vast modern structure (above), which can hold up to one million worshipers. At the heart of the mosque’s central court is the ancient Ka‘ba, about forty feet in height, built of the common gray stone of the district, and covered in black silk. It contains a black stone believed to have been given to Abraham by the angel Gabriel, according to some sources, and by others to be a meteorite that was part of the original, pagan shrine.

Every year, millions of Muslims gather in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage to the birthplace of Muhammad, which has been performed for the past fourteen centuries. The largest religious gathering on earth, the pilgrimage, or Hajj, is one of the “five pillars” of Islam. The devout are called upon to make the trip at least once. In earlier times, this was literally the journey of a lifetime, arduous and difficult, often taking months or even years on horseback or on foot. The number of pilgrims annually was less than one hundred thousand–until the middle of the twentieth century, when air travel began to make the journey a real possibility for millions of ordinary Muslims. By 1983, the number of foreign pilgrims exceeded one million, and in 1988, the Organization of the Islamic Conference established a pilgrim quota for each country according to its population. Nowadays, pilgrims are met by air-conditioned buses, escorted by experienced guides and stay in modern hotels and hostels.

The Hajj has profound political significance for the Saudi monarchy, which claims the title Khadim al-Haramayn, or “custodian of the two holy mosques.” To prove themselves worthy of the title, Saudi monarchs must show that they are capable of defending the interests of Arabian Muslims and of administering the holy sites for the benefit of worldwide Islam. The Saudis have invested heavily in new airport buildings, roads, water supplies, and public health facilities. The government also distributes bottled water, juices, and boxed lunches, stations ambulances and paramedics in strategic locations, and relieves pilgrims of the task of having to slaughter the traditional sacrificial animal. (The Islamic Development Bank now sells vouchers for sacrificial animals, which are chosen by the pilgrim and then slaughtered, processed, and frozen for distribution and sale.)

This is the end of the Hajj category article drawn from Chapter Four, beginning on page 118, of Volume Five, The Sword of Islam. To continue reading more about Hajj from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at www.TheChristians.info