Performing the Hajj and Umrah is the spiritual apex of a Muslim’s life, one that provides a clear understanding of his relationship with God and his place on Earth.
It imparts in a Muslim not only the assurance that he has performed the fifth pillar of Islam by following in the footsteps of the Prophet, but also the realization that is more than one billion strong and spreads across the globe.
This feeling is brought home upon the pilgrim’s arrival in the Kingdom. Most pilgrims arrive by air, and as their planes taxi toward the impressive Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, they pass jetliners with familiar names, but also ones that bear exotic markings such as “Southern China Airlines” from every part of the world.
The pilgrims are already dressed in Ihram or may change at Miqat, where special facilities are set up for this purpose. On the way from Jeddah to Makkah along the modern superhighway.
This vast concourse of vehicles approaches Mina, some four miles to the northwest of Makkah, where most of the pilgrims are housed in the thousands of air-conditioned tents that stretch to the limits of Mina Valley.
There are hundreds of medical clinics that supplement the hospitals in Makkah and Arafat. Security personnel and traffic police guide and help pilgrims.
Despite the clear signs and numbered rows, some pilgrims, tend to get lost and need assistance finding their tents.