Tag Archives: Muslims

Millions Travel to Mecca for Annual Hajj

On November 5, millions of Muslims began the five-day hajj, an annual trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that is one of the five pillars of Islam.

The hajj, which draws about 2.5 million Muslim pilgrims to sacred sites in and around Mecca, is the largest religious gathering in the world.

Muslims who are physically able and can afford to make the trip gather from around the world to pray and practice their faith together.

The ritual goes back to Abraham, the common ancestor of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths. Abraham had a child with his servant, Hagar, a baby named Ishmael. Many of the rituals are based on a story in which Hagar, left alone in the desert with the baby, finds food and water to keep them both alive.

The hajj rituals are deeply important to Muslims. They are very well explained here and here. But the best way to learn about the hajj, and Islam, is by becoming friends with Muslims you may know and asking them questions about their faith.

In learning more about Islam, it’s interesting to note what an important role the number five plays in Islam. There are five pillars of Islam, which includes proclaiming that there is only one God, promising to donate generously to charitable works, fasting during Ramadan, daily prayer, and performing the hajj pilgrimage.

The hajj lasts five days and has a number of activities that must be performed or the hajj is invalid.

Finally, Muslims pray five times each day.

In other faiths, different numbers and rituals take on important meaning. Learning more about other religions helps us understand our beliefs even better.

Here are some great resources geared toward children to help them learn more about Islam.

Islam for Kids

BBC Schools, Islam: An Introduction








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Japanese-Americans Standing Up for Muslims

Here’s an interesting article from the Washington Post about how Japanese-Americans, who remember how they were treated in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, are responding to House Homeland Security Chairman Peter T. King (R-NY)’s decision to hold hearings about Muslims in America.

It’s wonderful to read how times of crisis can bring what we think of as disparate groups close together. And it’s definitely a message worth sharing with our children.

In school, at the playground, and in life they may be the only people available to stand up for someone else. Especially in this time of heightened awareness over bullying, it’s important to recognize that the skills they develop to deal with it in childhood will be useful to them throughout their lives.

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Ramadan Mubarak!

Ramadan 2010 began today – so Ramadan Mubarak to the 1.6 billion friends, neighbors, and relatives around the world celebrating the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.

If you’re interested in reading more about Ramadan and sharing what you learn with your children, check out these books on Amazon.com or ask your local librarian for recommendations.

If you’d like to know how Muslims are celebrating around the world, read this article from the Christian Science Monitor and see how Muslims from New Jersey to Israel to Indonesia are marking the month. In New Jersey, school administrators in ten districts are canceling classes on the final day of the month of Ramadan.

And, if you’re like me and curious about attending services at a mosque, you can watch Friday services online at www.alhikmatlive.com, and watch other video content provided by an imam in Miami. (For more information on the project, read the Miami Herald article about it.)

The important thing is to expand your knowledge about Islam and Muslims and share that with your children. Because we all have to share this one planet, so we’d better find ways to get along. And that’s a worthy project for the holiest Muslim month of the year – no matter what religion you practice.

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