With globalization of religions and beliefs, interest in Islamic religions are growing tremendously. Especially, Sunni Islam, as the largest sector of Islam, is gaining members at a rapid rate. What fascinates me most about Sunni Islam is their unique five pillars to guide their members through their spiritual journey. There are five pillars in Sunni Islam.
The first one is Shahada: Faith. Members must declare faithful to one true God-Allah and the messenger of God-Muhammad. The second pillar is Salah: Prayer. Members must pray five set times a day, no matter where they are. The prayers have their own name and meaning, and must be facing the mecca. The third pillar is Zakāt: Charity. By knowing that all things belong to God, one grows as they share and provide for others. The fourth pillar is Sawm: Fasting. There are three types of fasting, and ritual fasting is required during the month of Ramadan. During this month, members must eat and drink only from dawn to dusk. However, members with medical conditions, are underage, and travelling, etc can make up in other ways. The fifth pillar is Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca. Mecca is the holiest city for Muslims because it was the birthplace of Muhammad and the place of his first revelation of the Quran. Hajj happens during five days of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Throughout the journey members wear “ihram” two white cloth unstitched, and walk through the city. Members who have completed the fifth pillar have shown submission to Allah through the journey.
Before the mobilization of modern transportation, the pilgrimage to Mecca was only available to people who were financially wealthy, physically strong, and had a stable family who could support themselves, in his/her absence. However, with the present technological systems, Mecca attracts two to three million people every year. Therefore, due to the privatization and commercialization of the Hajj industry, the price of Hajj is rising. Overall, the price of Hajj has risen around 25% in recent years. However, with the popularization of Mecca, and easier access of the trip, the meaning of this holy trip is at risk. Recently the demolition of Saudi Arabia, associated with vandalism has become more frequent. The destruction has focused on mosques, burial sites and historical locations. It is significant that we protect historical and religious sites. Not only Mecca, but other sites must be valued to preserve their meaning and provide a psychological nest for all people.