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Pilgrimage in Islam and Christianity.

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Introduction

PILGRIMAGE IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY Someone who travels to a holy place for religious devotions is called a pilgrim. For a Muslim, the holiest place on earth is MECCA. Because Muhammad was born here and lived here for most of his life. Mecca was a holy city even before Muhammad won it for Allah. However, the continuation of many old practices ere still encouraged. But he purified them by restoring what he believed to be their true meaning, in the worship of the One God. So theoretically, people going on pilgrimage to Mecca are walking in the footsteps of Muhammad, performing the same rituals that he did all those years ago. Even more important than following the Prophets example is the fact that pilgrimage is commanded in the Qur'an. "Perform the pilgrimage and the visit (to Mecca) for Allah." (Qur'an) "It is the duty of all men towards God to come to the House a pilgrim, if he is able to make his way there" (Qur'an) "And proclaim among men the Pilgrimage, and they shall come unto thee on foot and upon every lean beast, the shall come from every deep ravine (Qur'an) The 5th Pillar of Islam makes it a duty for everyone to go on pilgrimage (Hajj). I say everyone because in Islam, everyone human is born a Muslim until he/she converts to a different religion. If you fail to go at least once in your lifetime, it is regarded as a grave sin. However, only 1/10 Muslims manages to do it, because you have to meet the following conditions: - You must be passed puberty therefore be of sound mind, so that you know what you're doing. Children going accompanied by an adult do not count. - You must be able to afford it. Therefore, you should have no debts; and you should have gained the money to pay for the pilgrimage through honest means (i.e. ...read more.

Middle

Sa'y: the Running In performing this ritual, pilgrims are re-enacting Hajar's frantic search for water when left in the desert with her young son Isma'il. The story tells how they were saved from dieing of thirst. Isma'il dug his heels into the sand, where Hajar had left him, and a spring of water gushed up. The Day of 'Arafat The most important part of the Hajj is the 'Standing before Allah' at 'Arafat, where pilgrims beg forgiveness of their sins. It is an amazing sight to see about to see about 2 million people, out in the relentless heat of the desert, and swarming over the Mount of the Mercy, engrossed in their devotions. It calls to mind for Muslims the Day of Judgement, as the following passage shows. It is from an article entitled 'Journey to Mercy': Witnessing this, one cannot but think of the day of Reckoning, which we must, all keep in mind every minute of every day. The day of Arafat is extremely difficult. How much more difficult will that day be. On the day of Reckoning you need God's mercy. It is for the day that you must seriously consider fulfilling every pillar of the pledge as a Muslim. It is for that you should plan to complete Hajj as soon as you are capable, for Hajj is one way you may, if Allah wills, erase all your sins, secure for yourself forgiveness and ensure Allah's mercy. Pilgrims perform the noon and afternoon prayers together at Arafat' then move off at dusk to spend the night at Muzdalifah' where they perform the sunset and night prayers. AT MINA: Stoning the Devil The next day, on 10 Dhul-Hijjah' the pilgrims arrive at Mina' where the 'Stoning of the Devil' takes place. On this day, they throw seven small pebbles at the pillar known as the 'Great Devil'. The ritual continues on 11 and 12 Dhul-Hijjah' when they throw seven pebbles at each of three pillars (hence 49 pebbles in all). ...read more.

Conclusion

When the Persians invaded, many Churches were destroyed except this one because it showed three wise men wearing Persian dresses. Nazareth This was where Jesus grew up. There are to sites of interest - the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel. Both claim to be the site of Annunciation. A tradition claims that Gabriel appeared before Mary inside the Orthodox Church. Taize This is an international place of pilgrimage. It is situated in southeast France. It was formed after WWII. It brought together young Christians from all divisions and even non-believers into an area where life is simple and the hospitality is warm and friendly. The founder reckoned that if people knew each other, then there's less chance of another war breaking out. But the main reason why people come there is to worship. Lindisfarne (Holy Island) This is just off the Northumbrian coast. A huge monastery was built here at the request of King Oswald. He wanted Christianity to flourish in his kingdom. However when Henry VIII came to power, he closed it down. So it is now in ruins but pilgrims still hold services there. Lourdes This is in the south of France and is a very popular pilgrimage site. It is claimed that Bernadette is said to have seen the Virgin Mary. Since becoming a place of pilgrimage, there have been many cases of miraculous cures. Others however say that instead of being healed physically, they were healed mentally. I have enjoyed writing this piece of work and have learned a lot. So I have come to realise that going on pilgrimage is a way to escape the hustle and bustle of the modern world. It gives you a chance to reflect on your life and your time, left on this world. Or gives you the feeling of Ummah (being part of a brotherhood) and not ever feeling isolated. The pilgrimage seems to be more popular with Islam, since it has the largest gathering of people on earth. Nevertheless, the experience for both religions is the same. ...read more.

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