Compare the Muslim Hajj with the Jewish Yom Kippur Essay

Compare the Muslim Hajj with the Jewish Yom Kippur

September 08, 2014

Andre Key

Module #4 Writing Assignment 3

Question: “Compare the Muslim Hajj with the Jewish Yom Kippur.”

Once a year, Muslims of every ethnic group, colour, social status, and culture gather

together in Mecca and stand before the Kaaba praising Allah together. It is a ritual that is

designed to promote the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by showing that everyone

is equal in the eyes of Allah. The Hajj makes Muslims feel real importance of life here on earth,

and the afterlife, by stripping away all markers of social status, wealth, and pride. In the Hajj all

are truly equal. The Hajjis or pilgrims wear simple white clothes called Ihram. During the Hajj

the Pilgrims perform acts of worship and they renew their sense of purpose in the world. Mecca

is a place that is holy to all Muslims. It is so holy that no non-Muslim is allowed to enter. For

Muslims, the Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. It occurs in the month of Dhul Hijjah

which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is the journey that every sane adult

Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it and are physically able.

gathered travel from Makkah to Mina, a small village east of the city. There they spend the day

and night in enormous tent cities, praying, reading the Qur’an, and resting for the next day. On

the second day of the pilgrimage, the pilgrims leave Mina just after dawn to travel to the Plain of

Arafat for the culminating experience of the Hajj. On what is known as the “Day of Arafat,” the

pilgrims spend the entire day standing (or sitting) near the Mount of Mercy, asking Allah for

forgiveness and making supplications. Muslims around the world who are not at the pilgrimage

join them in spirit by fasting for the day. After sunset on the Day of Arafat, the pilgrims leave

and travel to a nearby open plain called Muzdalifah, roughly halfway between Arafat and Mina.

There they spend the night praying, and collecting small stone pebbles to be used the following

day. On the third day, the pilgrims move before sunrise, this time back to Mina. Here they throw

their stone pebbles at pillars that represent the temptations of Satan. When throwing the stones,

the pilgrims recall the story of Satan’s attempt to dissuade Prophet Abraham from following

God’s command to sacrifice his son. The stones represent Abraham’s rejection of Satan and the

firmness of his faith.After casting the pebbles, most pilgrims slaughter an animal (often a sheep

or a goat) and give away the meat to the poor. This is a symbolic act that shows their willingness

to part with something that is precious to them, just as the Prophet Abraham was prepared to

sacrifice his son at God’s command. Throughout the world, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, the

Festival of Sacrifice, on this day. This is the second of the two major holidays in Islam each year.

The pilgrims then return to Makkah and perform seven tawaf, turns around the Ka’aba, the house

of worship built by Prophet Abraham and his son. In other rites, the pilgrims pray near a place

On the first official day of the pilgrimage, the millions of pilgrims that have now

called “The Station of Abraham,” which is reportedly where Abraham stood while constructing

the Ka’aba. The pilgrims also walk seven times between two small hills near the Ka’aba (and

enclosed in the Grand Mosque’s complex). This is done in remembrance of the plight of

Abraham’s wife Hajar, who desperately searched in the area for water for herself and her son,

before a spring welled up in the desert for her. The pilgrims also drink from this ancient spring,

known as Zamzam, which continues to flow today. In the days and weeks after Hajj, many

Muslims take advantage of their travel time by visiting the city of Madinah, 270 miles north of

Makkah. The people of Madinah provided refuge to the early Muslim community, when they

were being persecuted by the powerful Makkan tribes. Madinah became a center for the growing

Muslim community, and was home to the Prophet Muhammad and his followers for many years.

Pilgrims visit the Prophet’s Mosque, where Muhammad is buried, as well as other ancient

mosques, and the many historical battle sites and graveyards in the area. Pilgrims from outside

Saudi Arabia are required to leave the country by the 10th of Muharram, about one month after

the completion of the pilgrimage. After Hajj, pilgrims return home with renewed faith and are

given honorific titles.

Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is one of two Jewish High Holy Days. The first

High Holy Day is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh

Hashanah on the 10th of Tishrei, which is a Hebrew month that correlates with September-
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Word Count:
1723
Page Count:
11

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