Saudi Arabia: Anticipation of Hajj

Pilgrims are already arriving to Makkah in anticipation of performing hajj.  Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a desire of all Muslims to perform at least once in their lifetime.

The pilgrims are full of anticipation for Hajj which will take place between 4 – 9 November.  Many Saudis are also full of anticipation for Hajj as it is one of the most lucrative and profitable periods.

While the performance of Hajj has remained the same, Makkah itself has undergone a significant face change.  There is the addition now of the Makkah clock tower which looms above the Haram and can be seen from all directions.  New sky rise hotels and apartment buildings are also dominating the landscape surrounding the Haram.  It’s not like the old days when the landscape was simple with the Haram the focus and landmark all eyes sought for.

Hajj has become much more commercialized too.  Many of the street vendors and small shops have disappeared.  Now a pilgrim can walk across the street from the Haram into the luxurious mall adjacent to the Hilton hotel.  There are other modern shopping malls which have cropped up in and around Makkah.  During Hajj the malls cater to pilgrims.

It is expected that there could be as many as 3 million pilgrims this year.  That also means there will be an increased need for taxi drivers, bus drivers, medical staff and other workers.

Interestingly, in spite of many young Saudi graduates unable to find jobs, the Kingdom is hiring 30,000 Egyptians to come and work during Hajj.

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66 Responses

  1. I never understand why was a giant clock is mounted on the tallest tower in Makkah overlooking the holy facilities. Was there any explanation as to why.

  2. The clock tower is terrible. There is Islamic architecture, and while it is difficult to extend older Islamic forms to a vertical tower, I am sure someone with professional design training could have come up with something better than this. Even if it were not completely bogus, it still dwarfs the site. As far as making Mecca a shopping mall, that does surprise me. I know that the real purpose of the Haj is to bring is cash, but shouldn’t it be a little less obvious?

    As far as bringing in foreign worker for what are temporary jobs. Islam is supposed to be an international religion. Shouldn’t the Haj benefit more than just Saudis?

  3. Hrm….Saudiazation does not mean menial jobs?

  4. ‘Islam is supposed to be an international religion. Shouldn’t the Haj benefit more than just Saudis?’

    You’ve got a point there Jerry.

  5. They have accounted for every inconvenience haj goers would face…the only thing left to do is pay someone to do your haj for you. hardly in keeping with the spirit and purpose of haj…you are supposed to suffer…at least a little bit.

  6. But I thought that some people DO pay people to do it for them. If you do that you have to send a poor person as well so you have to send 2. But, maybe I’m just making that up? I’m not sure…

  7. “Interestingly, in spite of many young Saudi graduates unable to find jobs, the Kingdom is hiring 30,000 Egyptians to come and work during Hajj.”
    its not prestigious among Saudis to do Menial Jobs. But the scenario is changing, now a days, wind of change is flowing over the world.

  8. Lynn…if you have, say elderly parents who have not been able to complete the haj and will likely never be able too, you can perform the haj on their behalf (one at a time, separate trips) once you have performed your own haj (previous trip). It counts for them and you are rewarded of course. You can do this for anyone not able to physically make the trip as long as your own first haj has been completed. Your not exactly paying them to do haj for you (though Im sure money is given to aide in the trip)…most often it is done for the benefit and for concern for the person who can’t. (generally familiy members/parents etc)

    btw is this Lynn admitting she makes things up? hmmm….

  9. I wonder what people think of the commercialization around the holy sites. Are they glad to have more places to shop or do they feel it out of place?

  10. The worst blasphemy that has happened in Makkah e Moazzamah is the unholy construction of this clock Tower , restaurant, Hotel and commercial complex etc which humiliates the most sacred building of Islam down below and it shows their scant regards and respect, these Zionist’s progenies of the jews have These are muslim imposters who have hijacked the most sacred and holiest of the holy places for the generation of income to satiate their urge of their dirty desires and evil luxeries on accounts of the funds generated by devout pilgrims.
    They are the munafeqeens so explisitly described in the holy Qoran and the followers of the original munafeqeen of Islam which has devided the pure immaculate deen into so many unguided firqahs
    and have initiated, created , populated and spread a new order
    which the world is erroniously calling Islamic Extremism & Terrorism.

  11. ‘btw is this Lynn admitting she makes things up? hmmm….’

    LOL More like Lynn knowing things that she has no business knowing and she can’t remember WHY she knows it. I think it’s an ‘age’ thing.

  12. @Zaheer – One word, REVOLUTION! Get ’em!

  13. Big as the haram is nowadays, it is being dwarfed by this awful building and clock tower. They didn’t even build it in an Islamic style!

    I keep wondering that nowhere in the Islamic world people are protesting this triumph of commercialism over religion.

    Oh, and there won’t be a hajj this year because Armageddon is coming; on October 21 the world is coming to an end!

  14. @zaheer ” …these Zionist’s progenies of the jews …”

    Yes, lets call the Jews.

  15. Protests has already started, Hajis ,it is your religious duty to raise your voice against this unislamic act immediately after the performance of your Hajj. Ask the rulers to demolish all buildings in close proximity to the Haram and restore all the mausoleum demolished during the last century .Every one should be allowed supplications and prayers in whatever way one wants ,you should only look after the administration of the two holy cities and keep the Harmains out side your control failing which a world wide protest be held right after the culmination of the Hajj.

  16. On the other hand…why make a big stink about the corruption of the two holy mosques..when the rest of the country (the so called seat of islam) is hardly doing any better…islamically speaking. Buildings are just dirt and water…..people are flesh and blood. Protest for them before getting so upset over buildings…no matter their historical significance.

  17. In 500 years they will think the tower is the best. All perspective. I do believe the King has done his best to try to make accomidations for all that come in to do their Haj.

  18. @-Lynn——-Islam is supposed to be International Riligion?Should’nt the Hajj benefit more than just Saudis?
    For your information, a great Islamic scholar (MUJADAD and Ghaus)
    Tahir Qadri of Pakistan came to London to give his message for International Peace. He is trying to do whatever he can for NON-Muslims To visit MAKKA AND MADINA and may be HAJJ for them too for the sake of INTERNATIONAL PEACE. He said MUHAMMAD(pbuh) IS merciful all mankind and every person has the right to visit him and pray.
    Wait and See

  19. @Sami – ‘MUHAMMAD(pbuh) IS merciful all mankind and every person has the right to visit him and pray.’

    Is that a typo or do you worship Mohammad?

  20. Lynn u don’t miss a beat lol,,i think most pp that aren’t Muslim wouldn’t have picked that one up.

    Sounds like he may have confused the roles of prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and Allah (swt) if that’s indeed what he believes to be true..

  21. ‘Lynn u don’t miss a beat lol,,i think most pp that aren’t Muslim wouldn’t have picked that one up.’

    FINALLY, some credibility?! LOL

  22. @LYN——Visit and Pray
    Daer lyn you are mistaken. we muslims do not worship Muhammad(pbuh). We worship ONe Allah and Muhammad is messanger of Allah for mankind.
    Mr Tahir Qadri is trying to invent an INTERNATIONAL RELIGION only for his own fame of his stupid ideas.

  23. @Sheikh..haha nicely put about Tahir Qadri.

  24. I’M not mistaken, Sami is the one that said that. I know better 😉

  25. Carina S. Burns reblogged this on Carina Sue Burns and commented: I think it a shame to see a clock tower instead…

  26. @– Lyn—-you should appreciate the hard work of Islamic Scholar (TAHIR QADRI of MIHAJUL QURAN) for the comfort of Non-Muslims and for the International Peace.
    But for that project he has to dare to change some subject of the QURAN. I can understand his stupid ideas.

  27. Why pick up someone,he is a learned man of a particular sect of muslim , may be everyone do not agree with all his aqaid but most muslims believe that islam is in fact a universal religion so trying to internationalise it is no sin at least better than causing it to be associated with Violence and Terrorism.

  28. @—Zaheer Husain Khan———To propagate Islam is no sin. To internationalise—–how? To tamper with the Quranic verses to please a sect of other religions is sin.
    I may say that only learned people can twist the subject matter of the Qur’an for their benefits. Uneducated people can’t do it.
    Sorry if I have disappointed you.

  29. No one can change and there can not be need to change the subjects of the Holy Qora’an, in fact it is not corruptible , only requires proper
    interpretation and understanding which can come out only from the Holy Prophet and his immaculate family.
    Please it is not in good taste to call any ones ideas stupid,though the ideas may not be to your liking.

  30. @ Zaheer Husain Khan————-I would advise you to understand the history of this person.
    However, this is not the place to discuss further. This is very delicate.

  31. “But for that project he has to dare to change some subject of the QURAN. I can understand his stupid ideas.”

    @ sami..u seemed to be promoting Tahir Qadri to Lynn and for her to be appreciative of this random guy and how he is benefitting non-muslims but then when it comes to muslims u change ure views..and don’t see him as so good?? not sure if i understood correctly?

  32. @Bella-vita——Promoting Tahir Qadri

    I am neither promotind nor demoting any body to Lyn.

    she asked a question and I answered.

  33. @Sami – ‘…she asked a question and I answered’

    But my question was: Is that a typo or do you worship Mohammad?

    That question came because you had said ‘He said MUHAMMAD(pbuh) IS merciful all mankind and every person has the right to visit him and pray.’

    So, was that a typo or not?

  34. OK, Sami. You got some “splainin’ to do.
    Why did you say that? Allah(swt) is The Merciful, one of His 99 names, which can NOT be attributed to anyone. Now, if you meant that Muhammad(saw) was SENT as a mercy to mankind, then I think we are all fine with that. We know.
    But, merciful…how do you mean that?

    From a Sufi perspective? Then, no argument from me on your personal choice.

  35. @Robin – ‘Now, if you meant that Muhammad(saw) was SENT as a mercy to mankind, then I think we are all fine with that. We know.’

    WE do?? LOL ‘splain!

  36. Lynn, don’t start with me!:)

  37. LOL

    I’m just sayin’. Was Jesus also sent as a mercy to mankind? If so why was another mercy needed?

  38. Lynn,

    “And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.”

    5:46

    So, Allah bestowed the Gospel on Jesus to be a light. Not a mercy.

  39. What is the difference between a ‘light’ and a ‘mercy’?

    Is that the only mention of Jesus in the Quran?

  40. Lynn, you know that is NOT the only reference! How about you ask your lovely daughter? Show HER how hungry you are for Islam!
    She won’t hate you, as you mentioned before. You should know by now how Islam honors parents:)
    Anyway, it’s date-night with the hubz!!! gotta go!

  41. I’m not at all ‘hungry for Islam’ just hungry to understand what people mean when they say something. Not going to tell me what you believe the difference is between a ‘light’ and a ‘mercy’? You are the one that used the words so it wouldn’t be right to ask someone else what you meant. Would it?

  42. oops, better not answer me tonight! I understand how important it must be for you to be fully attentive to his needs when it is ‘your turn’ or, if you aren’t already sharing him, to ensure that you don’t HAVE to share him with the other wives. Enjoy! 😉

  43. I don’t understand the problem. Can’t people be merciful? I know some that are. Wouldn’t you expect a prophet to be? It seems that’s all that’s being said here.

  44. @Sandy – Who said there is a problem? I am just asking a question prompted by Robin’s statement. ‘So, Allah bestowed the Gospel on Jesus to be a light. Not a mercy.’

    I’m curious what the difference is. There MUST be one for her to make that distinction like that. Eh?

  45. Sami has not clarified what he meant by this : ‘He said MUHAMMAD(pbuh) IS merciful all mankind and every person has the right to visit him and pray.’

    What do you make of that statement?

  46. @— Lyn Merciful

    No problem to be merciful. Tahir Qadri interprets wrongly. Merciful to the people who believe his FAITH , Obedient to God and to the people who do not associate any partners with God.
    Muhammad (pbuh) is merciful to others being members of the society.
    I can not discuss this subject here as this is very delicate. Tahir Qadri is learned but gone astray from his Islamic Faith. His conference has /is being condemned throughout his own coutry.
    He is trying to invent International religion for his fame and looking for AWARDS and benefits.

  47. And what makes him any different than the thousand other sheiks and imams before him that have changed and corrupted the religion into something less than “god like”?

  48. Wish this was Facebook so I could “like” what Coolred said.

  49. @Sami – ‘I can not discuss this subject here as this is very delicate’

    I think you cannot discuss that subject here because you cannot communicate in English very well. You still have not answered my question to you.

    You said : ‘MUHAMMAD(pbuh) IS merciful all mankind and every person has the right to visit him and pray.’
    Is that a typo or do you worship Mohammad?

    What does it matter if a dead person is merciful to you? Are you saying that he is a go between between you and god that you would pray to him?

  50. I believe that most religions start out with one or more people who are trying to improve life for those around them and then gets twisted somewhere down the line by others who are after greed and power in society and politics.

    I don’t see a problem with non-Saudis getting the jobs. If it’s anything like here in the US, the menial jobs most Americans don’t want or are unwilling to work as hard for the same pay as foreigners (although some of the “foreigners” are actually US citizens…LOL). And most of the jobs of that kind involve either working long hours or are somewhat dangerous.

    Working abroad may also be another option for Saudis who are unable to find work at home. I’m just not sure how easy this is for them. Speaking from my own experience as an American who studied abroad, part of the inability of the Saudis to find jobs once home may be due in part to their unwillingness to start off with a lower salary than what they feel they should have, laziness in searching for a job, need for time at home before starting work, and/or not understanding how to present themselves professionally and network appropriately for their chosen career field. Some may also have found out that they really don’t enjoy what they studied and are doing some “soul-searching”. Also, when one has built up a network in the place one studied, it is typically easier to get a job there than elsewhere.

  51. @Lynn,
    This is just a guess- but the Prophets grave is in Medina- within the mosque there- and many Muslims wish to pay their respects- however the local Wahabi religious powers that be- think they are idol worshipping and won’t let them stop by the grave to pray, usually FOR him, not TO him -though there may be some sects that believe in intercession. I don’t think there are any that pray ‘to” him in the sense that Christians pray to Jesus. It creates a lot of hard feelings with visiting Muslims and even some locals- I’m guessing that was the reference.

    My confusion was from before the “light” and “mercy” comment, but maybe I’m just not getting it. And that’s ok.

  52. @Ali,
    As I understand it (not that it makes a lot of sense) the reason behind the clock is the powers-that-be had this idea that Mecca as the center of Islamic world would be the Greenwich-like timekeeper of the Islamic world. As you well know time-keeping is very important in determining correct prayer times etc. So a way to gain more authority and leadership I guess.

    When I look at it I think of the stereotypical immature man saying, “mine is bigger than yours”.

  53. Interesting how prayers need such a big reminder since prayer times are “set in stone” and yet arabs themselves can’t seem to keep time for anything else in their lives (generalization but not by much). They are hands down the least able or willing to follow time riturals (arriving on time for appts…work…dinner etc). Just a twist of irony I always wonder about.

  54. Coolred,
    I often reflect that Arabs are capable of following proper procedures (wudu, Hajj,), standing in a straight line (salat), being on time (salat, Ramadan), self-discipline (all the rituals) etc. The trick is how to transfer these skills to another venue of their life??? Actually ALL of the other venues of life…..

  55. @Sandy – I don’t think there are any that pray ‘to” him in the sense that Christians pray to Jesus’

    That’s what I am trying to get to the bottom of with Sami. Sounds like he is saying that they do. Would you also interpret that from what he said?

    @Coolred – ‘yet arabs themselves can’t seem to keep time for anything else in their lives’

    It is not just Arabs with that problem. Seems Muslims of other nationalities have the same issues.

  56. […] Reblog: Saudi Arabia: Anticipation of Hajj (americanbedu.com) […]

  57. No, I woudn’t interpret it that way. But it’s awkward phrasing so I’m interpreting based on a pretty common issue many have with the gravesite.

  58. I’m curious about how Mohammed’s ‘merciful’ nature is relevant in the same sentence with praying at his grave.

  59. I think he meant he’s a mercy for everyone. Meaning ‘not just for Wahabis to push everyone away who want to visit the grave.”

  60. I wish Sami would let me know what he meant. I’m confused about the ‘delicacy’ too? What’s so delicate? Does that mean that the words need extra special attention so that they can be twisted properly to ensure that they sound flowery (Quranic) even if they are calling for someone’s death?

  61. It could be about the delicacy of the squabbling between Muslims. Many put a high value on not publicly disagreeing. But really it would be better if he answers for himself.

  62. Hi LYNN——
    I said that Muhammad (PBUH) is merciful (mankind) to those who accept his Faith and they can visit him (his grave) and pray for (forgiveness) to Allah and not to Muhammad.
    There is no cofusion at all.
    It is Dr Tahirul Qadri who wants to invent Interfaith Religion (International) as he demostrated at Wembley confrence.
    You are right , I am not very good at English language, so please forgive me if there any misunderstanding.

  63. @Sami – Why does it matter if they pray at the grave or anywhere else?

    How is Muhammad merciful? And why is mankind in parentheses? I am glad that you made sure to include ‘to those who accept his faith’. We don’t need to go down THAT road again with some Muslims trying to say that infidels are NOT to be hated or treated without mercy. 😉 WE know the truth, don’t we Sami?

  64. Lynn, he said nothing about infidels either way. Most people consider their prophets to be a mercy to them. Why would non-Muslims consider Muhammad a mercy to them? There are of course Muslims that like to bash and hate all non-believers but no need to create it where it isn’t.

    And you can pray anywhere. But the issue is the stopping of people from praying there. People are trying to assert their right to do so- and they are being stopped.

  65. @Sandy – ‘I said that Muhammad (PBUH) is merciful (mankind) to those who accept his Faith’

    So what about those that do NOT accept his faith (aka infidels)?

  66. I think that is adequately addressed in other places- and has nothing to do with that remark or anything to do with this discussion. When people talk about Christian issues I don’t assume it means anything about Muslims at all. You know very well that there are many views claiming to be Islamic regarding those that do not accept Islam. Including views every bit as awful as you believe is the correct Islamic stance. It just has nothing to do with this discussion-so why borrow trouble? You know it will come up again for real.

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