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In some religions pilgrimage is not an important commitment for all believers, in Islam it is essential. The Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Makkah, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam on which the faith is tested

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Introduction

Religious Studies Coursework What is a Pilgrimage? Most religions have sacred places and when believers go to visit these places we call the believers 'pilgrims' and the journey 'a pilgrimage.' In some religions pilgrimage is not an important commitment for all believers, in Islam it is essential. The Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Makkah, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam on which the faith is tested. 1. Describe a visit to Makkah. The Holy City of Makkah is in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the Middle East. Makkah lies inland 73 kilometres east of Jiddah, the place where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the founder of Islam, was born. This was the place where God's message was first revealed to him and the city to which he returned after the migration to Madinah in 622 AD. Muslims face Makkah during their daily prayers, as instructed to by their Lord. One of The Five Pillars of Islam, key tenets; is a pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in a Muslim's life. This is Pillar of Islam known as Hajj. Due to these reasons, approximately two million Muslims arrive in Makkah during the last month of the Islamic calendar for the Hajj. They seek to please their Lord and repent for forgiveness for their past life. Muslims can also go to Makkah throughout the year and perform Umrah, which is similar to Hajj, if they are unable to go when Hajj specifically takes place. ...read more.

Middle

This is called the Tawaf. As they arrive they cry out to respond to the call to come and dedicate their lives to God. If the Pilgrims can get near the Black Stone they will kiss it or touch it, but if it is impossible due to the vast number, they shout and raise their arms in salute each time they go past. The Ka'bah The Ka'bah is known as Baitullah, the House of Allah. It is a plain cube-shaped building made of blocks. Muslims claim it to be on the site of the oldest shrine to God on earth, built originally by the first man Adam. Later it was abandoned and broken down, but Ibrahim and Isma'il were shown the foundations and rebuilt it. When the prophet captured Makkah he broke up the idols of 360 other 'gods' that had been placed there. Al-Kiswah The Ka'bah is covered by a huge jet-black cloth known as the Kiswah. There is a different one every year, because at the end of Hajj it is cut up into pieces and given to the pilgrims as mementoes of the greatest moment of their lives. The rim of gold lettering round the cloth is usually sewn by specially chosen men in a factory just outside Makkah. The Black Stone This is an oval boulder about 18cm in diameter, set in the south-east corner of the Ka'bah, which marks the start of the walk encircling the shrine. It is encased in a silver frame. ...read more.

Conclusion

As dawn approaches there is another mass standing before God, and the pilgrims depart for Mina just before dawn breaks. The Unfurling The remainder of the pilgrimage is called the unfurling. * When the pilgrims arrive at Mina, they hurl pebbles at the pillars to symbolize their rejection of the Devil and his works. * Next, on 10 Dhul Hijjah, the Feast of Sacrifice (Id-ul-Adha) begins. The pilgrims all camp at Mina for two o three days of the feast. Every pilgrim must sacrifice an animal. * The Saudi authorities the freezing and disposal of the carcasses. Nowadays, with about two million pilgrims, it is impossible for all the meat to be eaten immediately, even if it is distributed among the poor. * After the sacrifice, the men have their heads shaved and the women cut off at least 2.5cm of their hair. At this point the Ihram ends. * The pilgrims then return to Makkah for another encircling of the Ka'bah. The final events are enjoyed in the holiday spirit. Many go back to Mina for a period of rest and recovery. * Finally they return to Makkah for the farewell. Some take water from ZamZam, and dip their white cloths in it to be used later as shrouds. They drink as much water as possible, believing it cures diseases, and they take as much as they can carry home to their families. Some are given pieces of black cloth as souvenirs. * They are at last entitled to take the name of Hajji or Hajjah. ?? ?? ?? ?? Saqab Hussain Religious Studies Coursework 1 ...read more.

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