Raleigh : 09-21-2013
After observing the month of Ramadan and celebrating the Ramadan Festival, another exciting time of the year is approaching for Muslims as we get closer to the Hajj (Pilgrimage) season.
The origin of the Hajj dates back to Prophet Abraham and it brings together Muslims of all races and cultures wearing only two pieces of simple white cloths in an impressive display of Islam's disregard for racial or national divisions. Each year several million people make the pilgrimage, making it the largest temporary gathering on the globe.
The Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies organized a seminar on September 21st, 3-5pm about this spiritual and physically demanding practice of Islam. This was a great opportunity to learn about different aspects of Hajj.
Fatma Tuba Kaya gave information about the 5th pillar of Islam: Hajj; and Oznur Hatip told about her personal Hajj experiences, about her trip from RDU to Makkah. Fatma and Oznur talked about rituals in Makkah, how ~3 million people from all around the world come together, and worship One God (Allah) in a unified way, and circle around the Kabaa. Fatma told that Kabaa was built by Prophet Abraham (pbuh), and it is the house of God, most sacred mosque where all Muslims face towards during 5 times daily prayers. Fatma noted that is the God not the cubical structure that is worshiped. One of the Hajj practices that they discussed is performed as a remembrance of Hagar (Prophet Abraham's wife), when she ran 7 times between the two hills (Marwa and Safa) to find water for her baby; today, after thousands years later, still millions of Muslim have to perform this to fulfill their Hajj practice. Oznur and Fatma told that Hajj is a life changing journey; and it is never ending as one becomes more conscious of himself/herself and God.