What is Hajj?
Mahmood Kooria (Leiden University) explains Hajj, the muslim pilgrimage.
The Hajj: An Ancient Journey of a Cosmopolitan World
The Hajj is one of the most ancient pilgrimages still extant in the world religions, and it combines immense size of believers with a cosmopolitan diversity. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, but it is obligatory only for those Muslims who are physically and financially capable. Even so, millions of Muslims all over the world aspire to go for hajj with whatever little means they have.
After a brief introduction into the pilgrimage, its rites, roots and routs, this lecture focuses on the journey itself. While only a couple of millions succeed to conduct the pilgrimage, there many more millions of Muslims who do all the preparations but never manage to complete the hajj. Their unfulfilled journeys have been an important theme in Islamic imaginations, histories, stories, films, and writings.
This lecture explores the nature of their preparations and aspirations. Why do they historically and contemporarily fail or succeed in conducting the pilgrimage? What did this journey mean to them when it was unsure whether they will return home alive? How did other Muslims perceive these failed pilgrims?
Mahmood Kooria is a postdoctoral fellow at the HERA project "Uses of the Past: Understanding Sharia". Earlier he was a joint research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and African Studies Centre (ASC), Leiden.