This weekend marks the time of the Hajj
, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity
venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God.
Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites
, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat
and the ritual stoning of Shaitan
to the circling of the sacred Kaaba
cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily
) and kissing the Black Stone
(colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite
While the city has modernized
to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich
, and tent cities the size of Seattle
-- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders
Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise
to write a rare travelogue
, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine
journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt]
, a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey.
Browse the manual
to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream
to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 4, 2011 -
Wake County, NC: Solomon Kamil
invited to speak at a public school in Raleigh tells the students to shun Muslims
"You may be excited that you found the 'tall, dark, and handsome man' you have been looking for. His sweet words and attention may blind you regarding the power, importance, and influence of his culture and Islamic faith."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy
on Feb 22, 2007 -
Keep your balls in check: The Saved Sect Website
calls for Muslims to stop supporting The World Cup, as "[...]soccer plants the seeds of nationalism, and is therefore part of a 'colonial crusader scheme' to divide Muslims and cause them to stray from the vision of a unified Islamic identity."
posted by naxosaxur
on Jul 3, 2006 -
The Big Cover-Up:
"Where once the sight of a fully hidden woman was restricted to a few traditionalist communities, nowadays it is not unusual to see the niqab on high streets throughout the major cities of England and in a number of smaller towns. Just a decade ago, this form of enshrouding was seen as an unambiguous sign of female oppression and feudal custom, but now it is frequently referred to as an expression of religious identity, individual rights and even, in some cases, female emancipation."
Veil: The view from the inside:
"I was in the same Metro carriage as a nun and I smiled at our similarity of dress. Hers was the symbol of her devotion to God, as is that of a Muslimah. I often wonder why people say nothing about the veil of the Catholic nun but criticize vehemently the veil of a Muslimah, regarding it as a symbol of` 'terrorism' and 'oppression.'"
Politics of the veil:
"Before I wore a headscarf I always slumped with my head looking down; now I walk straight and I look up at people. It's not that they accept me more than they did before, it's just that I don't care anymore how they regard me."
(Europe's Burqa Wars
, Niqabs in the Classroom?
posted by heatherann
on Nov 21, 2005 -
The Truth About Muslims.
, one of those rare historians who can really write (his books From the Holy Mountain
and White Mughals
have gotten rave reviews), takes on Bernard Lewis and gives some fascinating information about the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims through the centuries:
Fletcher also stresses the degree to which the Muslim armies were welcomed as liberators by the Syriac and Coptic Christians, who had suffered discrimination under the strictly Orthodox Byzantines: "To the persecuted Monophysite Christians of Syria and Egypt, Muslims could be presented as deliverers. The same could be said of the persecuted Jews.... Released from the bondage of Constantinopolitan persecution they flourished as never before, generating in the process a rich spiritual literature in hymns, prayers, sermons and devotional work."
posted by languagehat
on Dec 14, 2004 -
Converting to which
Islam? Most of the new Muslims I read about in the usual media feel impelled to join the "orthodox" Sunni
(if not outright Wahhabi
) variety, as if there is no other. But, as many of you no doubt already know, a non-negligible minority of the world's Muslims are Shi'ite
, whose biggest "Twelver"
branch was made famous by this Ayatollah
To further refute the image of "monolithic" Islam,within the Shia minority are a minority known as "Seveners"
, whose biggest branch
is run by this gentleman
, whose conception of Islam
as "a thinking, spiritual faith, one that teaches compassion and tolerance"
seems more congenial to the self-selected strata inclined to, oh, post to MetaFilter, perhaps especially to "Secular Humanist" atheists like me. (I'll bet some of you can even relate to his divorce
.) Further reading from these links (perhaps with Google's help) should further belie much of the dumbed-down propaganda "mainstream" Americans are spoon-fed about Islam, showing the kaleidoscopic nature of one of today's One True Faiths. (And then there are the almost Zen-like Sufis
, and ....)
posted by davy
on Dec 7, 2004 -
wants to play basketball. She is also a muslim, and wishes to observe traditional muslim attire for a woman of the faith. Intolerance ensues.
(A link from my local paper to an Orlando Sentinel story, in that this woman is from Oregon.)
posted by Danf
on Sep 24, 2004 -
A View from the Eye of the Storm.
An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world and comes to some interesting conclusions. Israel is a sideshow. Iran is the most dangerous country in the world.. in the long run the only way for us (the West) to win the war of terror is to force the problem nations to reform both politically and culturally.via Steven Den Beste weblog
posted by stbalbach
on Jun 25, 2004 -
The new Islam.
Husam Tammam and Patrick Haenni in Le Monde
(English version) describe the new forms of Islamic culture taking shape in Egypt. I follow the Islamic world fairly closely, but this was news to me. Does it herald an Islam that can live with the rest of the world (and vice versa)?
This entry, both with the hijab [veil] and the nashid [religious chant], into consumerism and syncretism with non-Arab models, has led to an implicit questioning of the old puritanism of the 1970s and 1980s - and above all a questioning of the principle of the ideologisation of religion. The change is important: we could trace similar patterns in the Islamic economy, increasingly affected by the ups and downs of international finance; or in Islamic charity, which has been rethought, within a framework of neoliberalism, as a security net to replace the state's withdrawal from this area (a withdrawal the Islamists have widely supported).
(Via Path of the Paddle
posted by languagehat
on Oct 9, 2003 -
"To me, every fundamentalist Muslim, no matter how peaceable in his own behavior, is part of a murderous movement and is thus, in some fashion, a foot soldier in the war that bin Laden has launched against civilization."
by Daniel Pipes
If Muslim fundamentalists are this bad I wonder what his views are of the other religious fundamentalists
posted by Qambient
on Oct 22, 2001 -