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Articles on Mecca

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A view of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and its Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City. Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Why Al-Aqsa remains a sensitive site in Palestine-Israel conflict

The Al-Aqsa mosque, a flashpoint in Hamas’ recent assault against Israel, hosts daily prayers and Friday gatherings. It lies adjacent to important Jewish and Christian religious locales.
American Muslim women on pilgrimage at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in 2023. Iqbal Akhtar

Women can now undertake Islamic pilgrimages without a male guardian in Saudi Arabia, but that doesn’t mean they’re traveling alone – communities are an important part of the religious experience

A religion scholar argues that the communal nature of Islamic pilgrimage helps worshippers go through a physically demanding schedule and creates camaraderie that continues beyond the pilgrimage.
A late 19th-early 20th century painting by Abbas Al-Musavi depicting the Battle of Karbala, which occurred in 680. Gift of K. Thomas Elghanayan in honor of Nourollah Elghanayan, Photo: Brooklyn Museum

What is the Islamic New Year? A scholar of religion explains

The Islamic New Year marks the first day of Muharram, a sacred month of prayer and annual reflection.
Muslims pray at the Mihrab, a niche in a wall indicating the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, at the Foundation Stone, located under the Dome of the Rock in the Al- Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

Why the Al-Aqsa Mosque has often been a site of conflict

The Masjid al-Aqsa of Jerusalem is linked in the Quran to the story of the night journey of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and has deep religious meaning for Muslims across the world.
Muslim worshippers perform the evening Tarawih prayer during the fasting month of Ramadan around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Mecca, on April 13, 2021. AFP via Getty Images

Pilgrimage in a pandemic: lessons from Mecca on containing COVID-19

Entertainment, sports and tourism industries can learn valuable lessons from how Saudi Arabia managed the annual pilgrimage during a pandemic.
The Muslim pilgrimage known as the hajj is both a religious mandate and a symbolic act of unity with Muslims worldwide. Reuters/Ahmad Masood

The Muslim Hajj: A spiritual pilgrimage with political overtones

Millions of Muslims will convene in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Aug. 9. The annual five-day pilgrimage, known as the hajj, is required of all Muslims who can physically and financially make the journey.
Women pray at a mosque during the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on May 6 in Bali, Indonesia. AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati

What Ramadan means to Muslims: 4 essential reads

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam – acts that denote the obligations of living a good Muslim life.
The 2010 “Love Parade” festival in Germany. Arne Müseler

Ten tips for surviving a crowd crush

When you find yourself trapped in an immense crowd, what are the right reflexes to adopt to survive?
Muslims can pray anywhere in the world using the prayer carpet. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

What are Muslim prayer rugs?

Trump recently tweeted about prayer rugs being left along the border. Many may not know the role and history of Muslim prayer rugs and why they are not likely to be left behind.
Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in August 2017. AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

What is the Hajj?

Each year, Muslims from all over the world go on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, known as Hajj. A scholar explains its spiritual significance.

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