"Why Are Muslims Turning To Mecca?"
project is dedicated to the memory of
would like to acknowledge the help, support, contacts and reference materials
provided by my Mother,
The Increasing Pilgrims
The number of Muslim Pilgrims travelling to perform Hajj in Mecca, (Saudi) Arabia, is steadily increasing each year. This increase may be attributed to many sociological, psychological, political, anthropological and economic factors. Through the close examination of Islam as a religion in relation to modern society, this research project will aim to identify what those underlying reasons are. This will aid in the understanding of why people across the globe are turning to religion, in particularly Islam, and therefore increasing the number of Pilgrims at Hajj.
[due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the [sacred] House [of God]
for whoever is able to find thereto a way.’ (Al-Quran, Al-Imran 3:97)
as a commandment of Allah, Hajj should be observed only once, and whoever
observes it more than once it is a voluntary and extra worship for him!” (Holy
Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny – Ahmad,
Nasa’i and Darimi.) (Hussain)
growing rapidly and therefore is “the second largest religion in the world.”
(Giddens, 93, p461) Community (2000) stated that 26% of the 1996 World
population of 5,771,939,007 was Muslim, totalling nearly 1.5 billion people.
With the number of Muslims having increased by over 235% in the last 50 yrs,
(Community, 2000) this puts enormous pressure on the Holy city of Mecca. Nearly
2 million of these people travel to Mecca for at least the duration of about 10
days, every year.
The growth of
Islam in various countries include:
· Africa – 2.15%
· Latin America – 4.73%
· Asia – 12.57%
· North America – 25%
· Europe – 142.35%
· Australia – 257.01% (Community, 2000)
1: Total Number of Pilgrims
travelling to Mecca to observe Hajj
The growth of Hajj since 1949 has shown an increase of pilgrims by 100% for every decade. (Daham, '81) These figures have been affected mainly by political and economic changes, including internal and external conflicts. In Plate 1 a fluctuating decline is visible from the year 1983 until 1991, followed by a dramatic increase of almost 300,000 pilgrims in 1992. (Angawi, '75; Daham, '81) These changes may be attributed to the ending of the Gulf War, which greatly affected the Pilgrimage.
Islamic pilgrimage, Hajj, is the fifth Pillar of Islam. It is held in the
[Islamic] month of Dhul-Hijja centred on the Holy Ka’ba in Mecca (Makka),
(Saudi) Arabia. Every adult Muslim should perform the Pilgrimage at least once
in his or her lifetime. (Hinnells, '97)
five Pillars of Islam are:
1. Shahada –Declaration of Faith
2. Salat- Prayer, five daily prayers
3. Zakat- Alms due to the poor
4. Ramadhan- Fasting the month of Ramadhan
5. Hajj- Islamic Pilgrimage to Macca (Siddiqui’, 99)
conditions (shurut) which make the
Hajj obligatory (wajib) for a Muslim
are: maturity (bulugh), sanity (‘aql), and capability (istita’ah).
There are three forms of Hajj: tamattu’,
qiran, and ifrad. (Maghniyyah,
1995) (See Fig. 2 in appendix for
studies conducted around the growth of Hajj have concentrated on statistical
figures relating the total numbers of Pilgrims, but have not studied in depth
the reasons behind these increasing trends. To fully understand and identify the
underlying sociological, psychological, political, anthropological and economic
reasons why people are turning toward Mecca, certain internal and external
factors need to be considered. For instance, could it be that there is growth of
one particular sect within Islam and not others, or can economics be a driving
factor from within Arabia itself?
of these factors that effect the number of pilgrims travelling to Hajj
· World politics- the degree of political stability or instability within a country.
· World economy- the combination of low growth and high inflation often influencing government policies to limit the number of pilgrims travelling from their country because of foreign exchange problems.
· Peace or war- the end of conflict often reflecting a significant increase in the number of pilgrims, as in Somalia in 1979, increasing by 138%
· Transportation- with three means: air, land and sea, depending on distance, time and cost factors.
· Religious encouragement- governments expressly either support or discourage religious practice and the Pilgrimage.
· Restrictions placed on Hajj applicants- limiting the number of pilgrims able to travel.
· Demographic features- including age, levels of literacy, and socio-economic position.
· Weather- Hajj falls in the 12th Islamic month of Dhul-Hijja, which occurs during different seasons, returning to the same season every 33 years. For this reason, Hajj during the summer months is unfavourable.]” (Daham, '81)
statistics stated by Daham ('81) and Angawi ('75) on the growth of Hajj,
describe the numerical values that affect all Pilgrims and Muslims worldwide,
however to enable an explanation for this growth, an understanding of Islam
needs to be the first priority.
moral system of Islam seeks to incorporate an entire society into “oneness”
in the belief expressed by Muslims as:
“La Illahah Illallah, Muhammed ur Rasool’ullah”. This translated into English means something like:
“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his final servant and Messenger.” And for Syiah Muslims, it is added after this:
“Ali un Waliullah, Khalifa to hoo bila fasl”. This translated into English means something like:
“Ali is a friend of Allah and was the intended true Caliph of the Muslim state (without any doubt).”
major goal of Islam is to provide mankind with a practical and realistic system
of life based on good, by which he/she can conduct his/her life. It calls upon
humankind not only to practice virtue but also to establish it and to eradicate
all that is harmful. It seeks the supremacy of one’s conscience in all
matters, so that what is harmful cannot gain the upper hand in either an
individual or a society. Those who respond to this call are known as Muslims,
which literally means those who have submitted to God (Allah).” (Islamic
Affairs Department, 2000) Alternatively, as is commonly understood by Muslims,
the Qur’an was revealed by Allah (S.W.T.) to his Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings be upon him and his progeny) as a “Guidance to Mankind”.
sociological theorists, Marx, Durkheim and Weber, all thought “the
significance of religion would decrease in modern times.” (Giddens, '93, p463)
“Within the development of modern societies, Durkheim believed the influence
of religion would wane, with scientific thinking increasingly replacing
religious explanation.” (Giddens, '93, p466) However, “science and
rationalist thought remain silent on such fundamental questions as the meaning
and purpose of life – matters that have always been at the core of
religion.” (Giddens, '93, p487)
however, has played an important role in proving correct, vast amounts of the
scientific facts found within the Holy Qur’an. The Qur’an has been a study
for Scientists and truth seekers world-wide. Scientific data found in the
Qur’an includes conception, the embryo and many geological facts (see Spiral
Galaxy), and knowledge we take for granted in modern times.
Most of this information was not understood by the Muslims 1400 years ago
and was accepted in faith. These scientific facts have contributed to many
reversions to Islam in modern times, which consequently increase the numbers at
Hajj. Therefore, the great thinkers quoted above (Marx, Durkheim and Weber) were
not entirely correct as the Qur’an is still proving itself scientifically.
growing need, evidenced by statistical numbers, for the return to religion into
the lives of the general population has stemmed a renewed emphasis on truth and
has inspired some enthusiasts to search for the true religion of God. However,
the importance and practice of religion, within a society as a whole has become
less significant and meaningful, therefore, (in many cases) producing a
generation of children who have not been raised with religious values and with
little exposure to moral standards. The higher proportion of juvenile
delinquency and divorce in this present era, may be attributed to that factor.
This opinion is shared by Marx, Durkheim and Weber, who felt that “traditional
religion was becoming more and more marginal to the modern world – that
secularisation was an inevitable process.” (Giddens, '93, p477)
However, Giddens ('93) has stated that “only Islam could undergo a
major revival, as it has continually stimulated activism and become the basis of
important political developments in the late twentieth century.”
describes the process whereby religion loses its influence over the various
spheres of social life.” (Giddens, '93, p486) Secular changes throughout the
“Western world” have affected modern states within which Islam is widely
practiced and has discouraged the citizens from within those Western societies
to embrace Islam. “In the late 19th century, the inability of the
Muslim world effectively to resist the spread of Western Culture led to reform
movements seeking to restore Islam to its original purity and strength”. (Giddens,
'93, p479) This relative inability to deflect the destructive forces from the
West was partly due to the removal of the Caliphate in 1924, in Turkey, when
British forces, with some Arab support, removed the Muslim Caliph permanently.
many “Western” countries, citizens are reverting to Islam for a variety of
reasons. Many of these include the attraction to Islamic etiquette or adab, intellectual data, scrupulous personal hygiene, but most
essentially, the ability to submit to the will of Allah.
Ibrahim was one of his Syiah. He turned to his Lord with a submissive heart.”
Islam often finds the new Muslim choosing between many opinions provided from
the five legal “Schools of Thought” within Islam. One of those schools
includes the Syiah, who believe that the descendants of the Holy Prophet
Muhammad, (peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny), are the rightful
leaders of the Islamic faith, directly guided by Allah and governing in
accordance with the Qur’an. As is quoted by the “Hadith of the Cloak” the
Aylu Bayt, or Household of the Prophet, consists of Imam Ali (A.S.), (cousin and
brother to the Holy Prophet), Lady Fatimah (A.S.) and their two sons Imam Hassan
(A.S.) and Imam Hussayn (A.S.). (Qur’an 33:33, Verse of Purification; Sahih
Bukhari and Muslim, Hadith spoken by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be
upon him and his progeny) narrated by Umm Salamma)
number of people reverting to Islam is increasing, therefore the population of
pilgrims at Hajj increases every year. With the density of the population
staying within the one relatively small region of Mecca and Medina for 10 days,
many “medical problems can arise.” (Daham, '81, p131) Other problems concern
culture, language, tensions between different Schools of Thought and a general
sense of growing impatience due to the over crowding.
research will provide the explanation for the sociological, psychological,
political, anthropological and economic reasons why people are increasingly
looking for the true religion and the true sect within that religion. The
underlying question is “Why are people turning toward Mecca?”
is no God but Allah. He will certainly gather you all together on the Day of
Resurrection which is sure to come.” (Qur’an 4:87)
Hypothetical research methods have been designed to collate data in order to obtain all of the answers to the questions asked, however, it would not be lawful to conduct such a survey in Saudi Arabia, according to King Faud University, Saudi Arabia.
NB: Research methods to collect relevant data available on request.
Sami Mohsen, (1975) Al-Hajj, Master of Architecture Thesis, University of
Chirri, Mohamad Jawad (1998) The Brother of the Prophet Muhammad (The Imam Ali), The Imam Foundation, London, England.
Community (2000) Community News and Views, Vol. 8, No. 5, ISSN 1067-5523
Daham, Abdullah Abdulrahman (1981) The Growth of Hajj: A Decade of Increasing Pilgrims to Mecca, 1970-1979, Ph. D.
Thesis, Claremont Grad. School
Department of the Minister of Interior (1981) Pilgrim Statistics, 1975-1979 and 1981, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Esposito, J.L., (1987) Islam in Asia, Religion, Politics and Society, Oxford Universtiy Press, New York-Oxford, U.S.A. -including quotes from:
· Johns, A.H., Indonesia, Islam and Cultural Pluralism and
· Piscatori, J. Asian Islam, International Linkages and their Impact on International Relations
Geertz, C. (1968) Islam Observed, Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia, University of Chicago Press,
Anthony (1993) Sociology, 2nd Edition, Polity Press,
J.R., (1997) The Penguin Dictionary of Religions, Penguin Books, London,
S.A., A Guide to Hajj, Al-Ula Publications, New Delhi, India
Affairs Department, The (2000) http://www.iad.org,
(1995) No Move to Change Quota System for Pilgrims; Safar, Saudi Gazette
14 April 1995, Saudi Arabia
(1995) Two Indonesian Ministers Monitor Facilities for Hajis, Saudi Gazette
9 April 1995, Saudi Arabia
Shariq Ali (2000) Geology (1), I.F.S.A., England. +44 (0)7958 414 279. firstname.lastname@example.org
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Planning (1982,
1985-6, 1995, 1996, 1998) Statistical Yearbooks, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
Central Department of Statistics, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Maghniyyah, M. J., (1995) The Five Schools of
Islamic Law, Anssariyan Publications, Iran
Rutter, Owen (1938) Triumphant Pilgrimage,
George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London, England
Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, Sahih, Hadith of the
Cloak, Narrated by Umm Salamma
Siddiqui’, Maulana A. A., (1999) The First Teachings of Islam, A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2- The Forms of the Hajj
the five legal schools agree that there are tree kinds of Hajj: tamattu’, qiran, and ifrad.
They also agree that by Hajj al-ifrad
is meant performance of the axts of the ‘Umrah during the months of the Hajj.
The acts of the Hajj itself are performed after getting through the ‘Umrah.
They also agree that by Hajj al-ifrad
is meant performing the Hajj first and then, after getting through the acts of
the Hajj, getting into a state of ihram
for performing the ‘Umrah and its related acts. The four Sunni legal schools
agree that the meaning of the Hajj al-qiran
is to get into ihram for the Hajj and
the ‘Umrah together.
the Imamiyyah school, the Hajj al-qiran
and Hajj al-‘ifrad are one and the same. There is no difference
between them except when the pilgrim performing the Hajj
al-qiran brings the hady at the
time of assuming the ihram. Then It is
obligatory upon him to offer what he has brought. But one who performs the Hajj
al-ifrad has essentially no obligation to offer the haddy.
In brief, the Imamiyyah do not consider It permissable to interchanfe two
different ihram’s, 22 or
to perform the Hajj and the ‘Umrah with a single niyyah (intention) under any condition; but the other legal schools
permit it in Hajj al-qiran. They say
that it has been named ‘al-qiran’
because it involves union between the Hajj and the ‘Umrah. But the Imamiyyyah
say that it is because of the additional feature of the hady accompanying the pilgrim at the time of ihram. 23
the four Sunni legal schools, it is permissible for the pilgrim, Meccan or non-Meccan,
to choose from any of the three forms of Hajj: al-tamattu’,
al-qiran, or al-ifrad, without
involving any karahah (reprehensibility).
Only Abu Hanifah considers Hajj al-tamattu’
al-qiran as makruh for the Meccan. The four Sunni legal schools also differ as
to which of the three kinds of Hajj is superior to the others. The best
according to Shafi’I school is al-ifrad,
and al-tamattu’ is superior to al-qiran.
According to the Hanafi school, al-qiran
has greater merit than the other two, The best according to the Maliki school is
al-ifrad, and according to the Hanbali
and Imamiyyah schools is al-tamattu’.
the Imamiyyah school, Hajj al-tamattu’ is obligatory upon one living at a distance of
over forty-eight miles from Mecca, and he may not choose any other kind except
one of these two kinds.
according to the Imamiyyah school, it is not permissible for one obliged to
perform the Hajj al-tamattu’ to
change over to something alse, except for the probnlem of shortage of time
available, or, in the case of women, due to impending menses. In those cases it
is permissible to change either to al-qiran or al-ifrad on
the condition that the ‘Umrah is performed after the Hajj. The limit of the
shortage of time id failure to be present at the wuquf in ‘Arafat until noon.
For one whose
duty is al-qiran or al-ifrad,
such as the natives os Mecca or those fro its surrounding region, it is nor
permissible to change to al-tamattu’, except
in exigency (such as the fear of impending menses). After explaining this
position of the Imamiyyah school, the author of al-Jawahir
says, “I have not come across any different opinion on this matter.”
And all the
five legal schools agree that the hady
is not compulsory for one performing Hajj
al-‘ifrad, though better if performed voluntarily.
is the state of pilgrim sanctity, which a pilgrim of Hajj or ‘Umrah assumes on
reaching miqat. A pilgrim in the state of ihram is called ‘muhrim’.
According to al-Jawahir, al-Madarik, al-Hadaiq and other Imamiyyah works on
fiqh, it is not permissible for one already in the state of ‘ihram
to assume ‘ihram for another
purpose, until he completes all the acts of the rite (Hajj or ‘Umrah) for
which he had assumed ‘ihram.
‘Aqil is alone among Imamiyyah legists in agreeing with the Sunni legists in
that the acts of both the Hajj and the ‘Umrah may be performed with a
single‘ihram in Hajj al-qiran. (Maghniyyah, 1995)
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