I was surprised at the similarities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity; the difference being that Christianity believes in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  All focus on charity, prayer and worship and the declaration of faith and trust, – professing there is only one god and that all men (and women) are equal.

The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca is quite the undertaking.  Before you leave for Hajj, all of your debts and financial obligations must be fully discharged before you start your journey and, where necessary, a written acknowledgement of the transaction obtained for future use.  You must make an honest effort to resolve your outstanding differences with others and seek forgiveness from those you may have hurt in any way in the past.

Going on Hajj probably will only happen one time in a Muslim’s life.  All three individuals highlighted in the documentary spend considerable time in preparation thereby minimizing physical discomfort, emotional aggravation and monetary expenses, but also to enabling them to perform Hajj in relative peace of heart and mind.  The contrast between the three really spoke about how all are equal in God’s eyes and on this pilgrimage.  I think it was a huge undertaking for the two American women to go on their own – really gutsy, but it didn’t appear that they felt unsafe at any time.

I think it was interesting that the man from South Africa was aware of how the poor living in the area contrasted with the ideals of Islam and how someone from out of the country decided to do something about it.  Obviously not everyone lives and speaks their faith who live in the area by taking responsibility for the poor.

The notion that all are equal before God is good but I was surprised and not surprised that being comfortable has nothing to do with being equal – comfortableness relies on money that not everyone has.  The sheer number of people traveling to mecca was astounding and I would think those involved in the hajj service industry would soon tire of the millions of people every year.  Even as someone going to Mecca and dealing with that many would be physical and emotionally exhausting but It seems that the emotional high one receives while there makes up for all of the lost sleep and constant pushing and prodding by so many.

I think for many Americans the idea of pilgrimage to Mecca just doesn’t fit for us – maybe we aren’t spiritual enough, maybe we aren’t zealous enough, passion or maybe it’s just the notion of  being with all of those sweaty bodies for so long – there are other ways to achieve spiritual nirvana without all of the turmoil.  I think we are spoiled and we feel our Christian God doesn’t ask so much from us.

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