Art And Culture

2m Hajj Pilgrims Converge on Mecca

2m Hajj Pilgrims Converge on Mecca2m Hajj Pilgrims Converge on Mecca

“Here I am at your service, oh Allah, here I am - here I am. No partner do you have.  Here I am. Truly, the praise and the favor are yours, and the dominion. No partner do you have.”

These are the words chanted by some two million people from across the world heading, as if pulled by a magnet, to one single spot on Earth. As has been happening every year for the past 14 centuries, Muslim pilgrims gather in Mecca to perform rituals based on those conducted by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during his last visit to the city. Performing the hajj is the spiritual apex of a Muslim’s life, one that provides a clear understanding of his relationship with God and his place on Earth. It imparts in a Muslim not only the assurance that he has performed a life-transforming act by following in the footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH), but also the realization that he is part of the Ummah (nation) that is more than one billion strong and spreads across the globe.

This year, two million Muslims have gathered in Mecca to take part in the five-day ritual which began on October 1, in what is the largest gathering of people on Earth. The world’s biggest annual religious pilgrimage comes as authorities strive to protect pilgrims from two deadly viruses, Ebola and the MERS corona virus. It also comes against the backdrop of widespread revulsion among Muslims towards the so-called Islamic State militant jihadists.

The annual hajj pilgrimage concludes on October 7, with the Eid-ul-Adha (The Festival of Sacrifice) celebrated on October 5, when Muslims commemorate and remember Prophet Abraham’s trials and triumphs (that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God) by sacrificing sheep, camel or goat.