Beliefnet Presents 'Not My Father's Hajj' by Shahed Amanullah —

Beliefnet Presents ‘Not My Father’s Hajj’ by Shahed Amanullah —

During the modern hajj, the emphasis on commerce and the abundance of modern technology can be distracting. New malls with Western stores are beginning to surround the Masjid al-Haram (“the Sacred Mosque”), contrasting with the nearby bazaars and street markets that echo historic experiences (commerce itself during hajj time has not traditionally been discouraged). Mobile phone and camera use, though prohibited around the Haram, is still widespread, even by pilgrims performing the tawaf and other religious rites (Internet access, on the other hand, is not accessible to pilgrims). The Saudis have been criticized for their disregard for archeology and buildings of historic importance. Most likely, within a decade’s time, few of the buildings immediately around the Haram will be more than 30 years old.

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