• Short Summary

    The Hajj has ended. The pilgrimage by devout Moslems to Mecca which marks one of?

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    The Hajj has ended. The pilgrimage by devout Moslems to Mecca which marks one of the most important points in the Moslem religion is over for another year.

    SYNOPSIS: Mecca, the starting point of the final ceremonies of the Hajj. Here is the Kaa'bah in which the holiest of holy objects of the Moslem religion - the black stone - is enshrined. This year, nearly one and half million pilgrims from nearly every country in the world took part. The final part of the Hajj takes place at Mina.

    These roads and access routes are blocked. New freeways and flyovers have been constructed to cater to the pilgrims. For the rest of the year they're deserted. The pilgrims have spent the night at Muzdalifah where they've gathered pebbles for the coming aspect of the Hajj - the stoning of Iblis.

    Inside the Haram, which is a holy sanctuary surrounding Mecca, Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat, each phase of the Hajj marks some aspect of the progress of the Prophet. The Rajim Iblis -- where three pillars depicting Satan are stoned. The ceremony represents the three times that Satan tried to lure Abraham from his steadfast loyalty to God.

    After this ceremony, the pilgrims sacrifice a ram which marks the greatest feast of Islam - the Feast of Sacrifice in memory of Abraham and in thanks giving. The ceremony is duplicated by Moslems around the world at exactly the same time.

    The numbers of pilgrims making the Hajj has grown enormously in relatively recent times. In 1823 only 50 thousand took part. In 1926 it was a quarter of a million. In 1978 it's estimated that a possible five million might take part. But not only are the religious aspects important - it's also a way of centralising and exchanging Moslem experience around the world - a unifying factor for all Moslems.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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