Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Five Star Haj

A New York Times article by one Mr Hassan M. Fattah and reproduced by made me ponder over the changing times.

Titled "The Changing Essense of Makkah," the article looks at new buildings and restaurants that are coming up in the area close to the Islam's holiest Mosque - the Kaaba.

The influence of western values is slowly and surely eroding our rich cultural heritage. I consider myself very unlucky that when I do get the chance to visit Mecca and Medina, I would see a completely different picture.

Ironic indeed when you consider that a tourist site in Agra (The Taj Mahal) has forced the closure of so many carbon emitting factories, a move to save the Taj from pollution. And here you have Islam's holiest structures gradually being surrounded by 5 star hotels, needless to mention the effects of constant digging and drilling around the shrine.

What a pity!!!

Also, who's going to afford these hotels? I know there are rich Muslims out there, but, we will be missing the real essence of the whole trip then. The 'Ehraam' that one wear during the Hajj is a symbol of simplicity and unity while praying to Allah. One person staying in a tent and the other in a 5 star hotel will only create class discrimination, destroying the whole purpose of the pilgrimage.

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