The annual pilgrimage to
Mecca is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially
able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Mecca each
year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those
of different nations to gather together. Although Mecca is always filled
with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the 12th month of the Islamic year.
Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions
of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.
The rites of the Hajj,
which of are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the Ka'ba seven times,
and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did Hagar
during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide
plain of Arafa and join in prayers for God's forgiveness, in what is often
thought of as a preview of the Last Judgement.
The close of the Hajj is
marked by a festival, the Eid-ul-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers in
Muslim communities all over the world.
On behalf of The Islamic
Center of San Francisco, the Editors, and the Board of Directors wish all
the readers and all the Muslim brothers, sisters, and their families and
friends a happy Eid-ul-Adha.
The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186