ERAM GILL Hajj is duty owed to God
Do you know that there is a building in existence on our planet Earth for at least 4,000 years that has been continuously visited by people and never been abandoned?
It is not a historical site for tourists like the pyramids of Egypt or Taj Mahal in India but a lively place of worship and adornment. This building is called "The House of God."
"The House of God" was built (or rebuilt) by the grandfather of all modern religions in the West and in the Middle East, great prophet or "Grand Patriarch" Abraham (peace be unto him) and his first son prophet Ishmael (peace be unto him) for the worship of one God.
Regarding this house it is mentioned in the Koran, "The first house set up for mankind was indeed the one at Bekkah [now Mecca], rich in blessings and [a source of] guidance unto all the worlds. In it are clear signs [such as] the place whereon Abraham once stood, and whoever enters it finds inner peace.
"Hence, the Hajj [or pilgrimage] unto the house is a duty owed to God by all people who are able to undertake it. Anyone who disbelieves [will find] that God is transcendent, beyond any need of anything in all the worlds." Koran 3:96,97.
1 billion people
This place, the House of God [Bait Allah] is the center of worship for more than 1 billion people all over the world. Since the building is approximately cubical in its shape, it is also called "Ka'aba." The Ka'aba is located in Mecca, a city in modern-day Saudi Arabia.
There is a week each year called the time of Hajj, or pilgrimage time, when over 2 million people from all over the world gather at Bait Allah to perform their Hajj. This is the largest single gathering in the world held annually.
In addition, throughout the year about the same number of people visit the place.
The building's existence and visit by believers is a miracle indeed and a proof of the continuous existence of some of the traditions of prophet Abraham (peace be unto him). Islam is following the teachings and the way of our great prophet Abraham. Prophet Mohammed (peace be unto him), a descendantof Abraham through Ishmael, revived the religion of Abraham, who himself was a prophet of Islam, a term meaning "submission to the will of God."
XEram Gill is a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown. Muslims making the Hajj attend service in front of Mount Arafat on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Muslims who are on the pilgrimage and those locally celebrate Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, offering food to the poor in remembrance of Abraham's offering his son Ishmael to God.