The Personal Hajj
December 8th, 2008
Inside Thirteen Blogger: Patti Hanley, producer, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
We have five television sets that are constantly broadcasting in our newsroom. Believe me, that is a lot of 24-hour cable news. It’s safe to say we get a good idea of the stories that cable networks think are most important – for instance, this week it’s the auto industry bailout, the recession, violence in India, and the new Obama administration.
The biggest story in the religion world this week will probably only get a
passing mention on those stations: the Hajj, where millions of Muslims fulfill
a pillar of their faith by making a pilgrimage to the holy city of
Full disclosure: I am not a Muslim. I am also not a fan of crowds. The Hajj is, to this outsider, a true test of endurance. At various points of the trip, a Muslim will kneel, run, throw things, sleep in a tent in the desert, and stand vigil on a mountain plain. These activities are not optional – every Muslim who is physically and financially able is expected to participate. No excuses. If there’s an analogous term to “cafeteria Catholics” that applies to Muslims, I’ve never heard it.
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly followed a Muslim pilgrim from
This is a season of holidays for many faiths, as well as for secular people. Later this month when I make my pilgrimage to my childhood (if not my spiritual) home, I’m going to be thinking about the Hajjis, and how I might be able to expand my own worldview.
Increasing my belief in peace and harmony might help with my own yearly test of endurance: the traffic on I-95.
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