Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Hajj via PlanetPic

Photo © Fayez Nureldine - AFP/Getty Images

PlanetPic, the photography blog of Global Post, is the first of the main photo blogs to feature over two dozen photographs of the Hajj...and it appears it'll be updated as the religious pilgrimage progresses.

The Hajj (Arabic for pilgrimage) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia is the largest pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. More than 2.5 million Muslims are expected to perform the Hajj; a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God.

This year, the Hajj occurs from November 4th to the 9th. Although it's associated with the life of the Prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca itself is considered by Muslims to stretch back thou.sands of years to the time of Abraham.

One of the photographs shows a pilgrim shaving his head, and it struck me that the Hindus do the same during the Kumbh Melas, and during other religious rituals.

Syncretism? Perhaps...but the French saying of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose seems to be appropriate.