At this time of year thousands of Moslems from many lands pass through Jordan on their way to Mecca.
At this time of year thousands of Moslems from many lands pass through Jordan on their way to Mecca. Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five duties demanded of every true Moslem -- the others being recognition of Allah as the only god, ritual prayer, Ramadan fasting, and donations to the poor.
Moslems from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco are among those passing through Jordan, swelling the ranks of the 25,000 Jordanians making the pilgrimage. For the second year running, people living in the Gaza Strip have been permitted to join the pilgrimage, or "Haj".
A special "pilgrims city" has been established near Ma'an, where foreign Moslems gather and complete Jordanian legal formalities before continuing the journey to Saudi Arabia.
SYNOPSIS: It's a busy time of year for officials in the Jordanian city of Ma'an. Tens of thousands of Moslem pilgrims, from many lands, are passing through Jordan on their way to Mecca, and Ma'an is where their documents are checked. Some have already travelled thousands of miles on the sacred pilgrimage to Mohammed's birthplace -- the duty of every true Moslem. The Jordanian officials check passports from Pakistan and Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and other countries from which Moslems set out and pass through Jordan on their way to the holy city in Saudi Arabia.
"Hac Sehiri" -- the pilgrim's city -- is the name given to the area near Ma'an where the pilgrims camp while their documents are approved. A fantastic array of vehicles assembles here such year. Some look as though they'd hardly make the next town, but somehow carry the "faithful", thousands of miles to Mecca and back.
The Moslem's give daily sessions of prayer gain added significance as he nears Mecca, the city he faces whenever, he performs this ritual act of faith in the Prophet. Local merchants prosper from selling water to the pilgrims before they set off once more on the read to Mecca -- and Heaven.