Religious tourism – Islam

Holy places in Isam

The third religion stemming from Abraham is Islam.  Islam is around 1400 years old a religion in this world. Muslims believe that their Prophet Mohammad was the last prophet sent in the world.

Followers of Islam believe in five pillars of the religion. One of the five pillars is actually a travel act. They believe in saying prayers, fasting, charity or zakat, and Hajj.

Hajj is the act of holy pilgrimage to the house of God. As this is one important pillar of Islam we see hundreds of thousands of Muslims visiting this site. The fact that followers of this faith also believe in Prophets before Mohammad they hold religious sites of Christians and Jews with utmost importance as well.

Mecca

As the name suggests, it is an important center for a group. This use of this word stems from the city of Saudi Arabia of the same name called Mecca.

This is the holiest city for Muslims all over the world. The royal rulers of this country do not allow non-Muslims in this city. The city has Kaaba and Masjid Al Haram the two most important structures of respect for Muslims.              

Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah or Kaaba.

This is the most important religious place for Muslims. It is also referred to as the house of Allah. According to history, Kabba was constructed by Abraham and Ishmael and was a place of pilgrimage. The Kaaba since then was a place of worship and pilgrimage for people. After a few centuries, Kabba became a place full of idols unlike what Abraham said to his followers.

Upon the victory of Mecca by Mohammad and his friends the Kaaba was cleared of Idols, the five-times said prayers were instructed to be made in the direction of Kaaba and not Bait-ul –Muqaddas( Mosque Aqsa) of Jerusalem.

Masjid al-Haram

It is the sacred mosque closer to Kabba. This is the largest mosque in the whole world and has been expanded numerous times for the pilgrims. This city receives pilgrims during the annual pilgrimage of Hajj. Hajj happens once a year to renew the spiritual feelings and to remember the sacrifice of Abraham for his son Ishmael. Many acts in this pilgrimage such as stoning the satan or running between two mountains are the actions of Hagar.

Umrah is another Islamic pilgrimage done any time of the year, which includes circumambulating the Kaabah, and again these two sites of Mecca are visited for this religious act.

Medinah

This city is open for non-Muslims, but the holy site is a no go area for them. This city welcomed Mohammad. He built the mosque known as Masjid e Nabvi, with a notable bright green dome. This mosque had a small portion where the prophet resided with his family. Muslims all over the world, come to pray in this mosque as this was one big mosque built by him and the final resting place of their last prophet along with his close aides.

Jerusalem

The holy land revered by all three Abrahamic faiths is holy for Muslims. Mosque Aqsa is of high reverence for Muslims. Mohammad led the prayers in the direction of this mosque until the revelation came to change the direction.

There is a place in the same mosque where Prophet Mohammad ascended to the heavens and that place is sacred to Muslims of all sects.

The tomb of Abraham in Hebron along with tombs of other prophets. It is also a much-respected place for all Muslims. Given a chance to visit they do pay respect by visiting these places.

The family of Mohammad is called Ahl el bait. Prominent men and a huge part of this family were brutally murdered in the blistering heat of current Iraq.

One grandson of Mohammad, Hasan was poisoned while the other one Hussain was massacred mercilessly. This all happened for power. This tussle has been instrumental in making the two important sects of Islam. Shia and Sunni school respectively.

Najaf

Najaf is the final resting place of Ali. This is an extremely sacred place for Shia Muslims. They believe this is their spiritual center of learning and peace. The father of the Hassan and Hussain, Ali is said to be the patriarch of the Shia sect and people come here or send the corpses of the loved ones to be buried for ultimate peace. Although, this practice of burying loved ones especially in Najaf has diminished hugely now. However, the love and reverence for this city are immense amongst all Shia Muslims. There are other shrines of pious and religious people in this city.

Karbala

The ultimate place of sorrow and hurt is Karbala. Here, the living family members were taken as prisoners while most of the men were killed including Mohammad’s grandson. The shrines of Hussain, his half brother Abbas attract many pilgrims who come here to show their devotion to the family of the prophet.

Mosques

There are many old and UNESCO heritage list mosques in many poarts of the world. Africa, Jordan and many countries have beautiful and historical mosques that people like to visit and remember. Travelers and religious travelers do check out such places while going on a journey.

Muslims, mostly do try to go for their life time pilgrimage of Hajj and in that long strenuous travel they learn a lot about patience and sharing, which is the ultimate doctrine of all faiths. Eventually, it is about attaining peace and learning to share with tolerance.

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