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Islam

Step 12: Being in community.

Principle: Service

The sense of solidarity shared by Muslims is highly valued. They view themselves as a community (umma) who share their belief in Allah. They value their spiritual kinship and their own individual freedom.

The pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), which is described below, has the ultimate benefit of receiving forgiveness for one's sins. The actual events heighten one's God consciousness and create a sense of spiritual fulfillment. Muhammad promised that those who perform the Hajj will return from it as a 'newly born baby' implying a freedom from sin. It also encompasses the three main practices necessary to achieve eternal salvation: hard work, prayer and forgiveness from sin from Allah.

Text or Verse

Your community is but one community,
and I am Your only Lord.
Therefore serve Me.
People have divided themselves into factions,
but to Us they shall all return.
Suras of Mecca

Practice

The pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca to visit the Ka'aba is life-time goal of every Muslim, it is one of the five pillars or requirements of the faith. It is often a mystical or peak experience. Muslims prepare mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically for the trip. All are required to wear white robes which is a symbol of unity. The ritual includes the following:

  • Cleanse oneself
  • Circle (tawaff) the Ka'aba (a stone building 33 ft wide by 40 ft long) seven times reciting verses and offering prayers
  • Run 7 times between the two hills of Mecca (symbolizing Hagar's frantic search for water)
  • Drink at the well of Zamzam (symbolizing Hagar's ability to fulfill Ishmael's needs)
  • Travel 13 miles to the plain of Arafat where Muhammad preached his last sermon
  • Stand from noon to sunset (symbolizing Muhammad's standing in the community)
  • Travel to Mina to throw 7 stones (symbolizing when Ishmael threw stones at the Devil to resist temptation)
  • Sacrifice an animal (symbolizing the ram offered by Abraham in place of Ishmael)
  • Return to Mecca and repeat the circling of Ka'aba and the running between the two hills

Resources

IMAN, Iranian Muslim Organization of North America (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

IMAAM Indonesian Muslim Association in America (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

Islamic Center of America (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

Islamic Foundation (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

Nation of Islam Study Center (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

Qur'an (to order) - Islamic Discovery (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

U.S. Organization of Islam (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

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