Hajj: Spiritual Journey of a Lifetime (02:44)
The most sacred place in Islam is the Ka'ba in Mecca. The Ka'ba is a mosque built around a black stone. Mecca symbolizes the worship of One God--the God of Abraham. Muslims come by the millions pay homage in an epic 5-day quest for salvation.
Hajj Season at Mecca (03:09)
Numbers of Muslims in Mecca surges during Hajj season in the Muslim month of Dhu'l-Hijja. Muslims worship what the Ka'ba represents: the One God. Legends suggest that Adam first built the Ka'ba, which was then rebuilt by Abraham.
American Muslim (01:35)
Dr. O'Leary, a professor of neural science, prepares to embark on Hajj, having fully embraced the faith. Will Arab Muslims accept an American female in the midst of their Hajj?
South African Muslim/ Malaysian Muslim (02:43)
Khalil, a South African radio personality, prepares for his Hajj. He seeks a world of tolerance but in Mecca he'll find some of the ghosts he thought he had left behind. In Malaysia, Ishmael prepares for his Hajj. He must bring the austere clothing of a pilgrim.
Requirements of Islamic Law (02:53)
Islamic law suggests that females must dress modestly. Hajj rituals are so complex that they require study. Between immigration and conversion, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in America.
Father Abraham (01:35)
Pilgrimage to Mecca is far older than Islam. Pre-Islamic Arabs practiced pilgrimage to Mecca because it was thought that Abraham instituted the practice. Abraham's teachings established many core beliefs of Islam.
Prophet Mohammed (02:03)
In 630 AD, a new prophet emerges from the line of Abraham--a Meccan named Mohammed. He clears the Ka'ba of idols and restores worship of the One God. Craftsmen work on a 7000 sq. foot silk cover for the Ka'ba. It weighs one ton.
Malaysian Government: Organized Journey to Mecca (02:33)
In times past, the long journey to Mecca was fraught with dangers. Today in Malaysia, the journey is highly organized government program. The logistic of Hajj are staggering.
Rituals of Hajj (02:26)
Taking place in and around Mecca, Hajj is a series of rituals performed between the 8th and 13th days before the last month of the Muslim calendar. On the way, pilgrims symbolically stone Satan, worship at the Plain of Arafat, and circle the Ka'ba.
Rituals at the Ka'ba (02:53)
Pilgrims pour towards the symbolic center of their faith. They chant commitment to worship and serve the One God. For many pilgrims, seeing the Ka'ba for the first time is almost overwhelming. Pilgrims circle the Ka'ba in a ritual called Tawaaf.
Charity and Celebration (02:39)
In another ritual, Muslims "strive to live the ideal." Pilgrims lend a hand to feed the poor and hungry. Charity is a pillar of Islam. After the 5-day ordeal, a carnival atmosphere prevails. Pilgrims shop for souvenirs to take home.
Call to Worship (01:47)
Even in the busiest market, when it is time for prayer, everything stops. Ihram clothing is worn during the pilgrimage.
Pilgrim Accommodations (03:22)
On the 8th day, crowds circling the Ka'ba have diminished down to the hundreds. They disperse to the valley where Mohammed stopped on his journey 14 centuries ago. The pilgrims stay in a massive tent city.
Human Nature Emerges (02:13)
A female American Muslim endures stares and comments in Mecca. In her state of ritual sanctity, she must be patient. Khalil, from So. Africa, experiences discrimination even though everyone is to be equal before the One God.
Plain of Arafat (02:16)
On each day of Hajj, pilgrims go to a different place. Today they travel to the Plain of Arafat. Fifty thousand vehicles crowd the roads. This part of the ritual is seen by many to be a rehearsal for the Day of Judgment.
Hajj: Judgment Day (03:28)
In the Plain of Arafat, pilgrims might climb the Mount of Mercy where Mohammed gave his last sermon. The essential search of the day of Arafat is absolution from the One God.
Mercy and Absolution (02:06)
Amidst all the noise and chaos of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, individuals find a place within themselves to plead with the One God for mercy and absolution. At sunset, 2 million people stand poised to leave Arafat.
Prayerful Night (02:02)
After standing on the plain of Arafat, pilgrims spend the night on a plain called Muzdalifah. They gather stones to throw at the Devil the next day.
Ritual: Stoning the Devil (02:17)
The stoning of the Devil ritual reenacts part of the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of his son. The goal is to defy temptation. Three stoning points symbolize the Devil's three attempts to dissuade Abraham from obeying God.
Festive Atmosphere (02:22)
All pilgrims cut their hair or shave their heads as a sign of humility. They can discard Ihram and wear personal clothing. The battle with the Devil marks the beginning of a celebration.
Feast of the Sacrifice (01:34)
The Feast of the Sacrifice requires at least 2000 Muslim butchers to kill over 800,000 animals. Pilgrims put their names to packaged meat that is sent to poor people around the world.
Concluding the Hajj (04:03)
Pilgrims return to Mecca for a parting visit. The final circumambulation of the Ka'ba completes the rituals of the Hajj. Each pilgrim goes home with a clean slate. Each hopes to be a better person.
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