The Holy Month of Ramadan
Journey to Makkah during the holy month of Ramadan, when millions of pilgrims converge on the Grand Mosque during blessed days, and streets teem with activity throughout evening hours.
Millions of faithful make sacred Umrah pilgrimages to Makkah during Ramadan. You join them. In a state of Ihram, you enter the holy city during the important month. Activity swells in every direction. Approaching the Grand Mosque, you navigate narrow, sloped streets that teem with vendors offering spiritual souvenirs. Move through multitudes who await the call to dawn prayer (Fajr). Meals are prepared and consumed in the streets – sustenance before the rising sun signals the start of fasting. The pre-dawn air is rich with flavors from across the Muslim world. Your fellow pilgrims are equally diverse – faithful from across the globe who have left their homes to enter this holy place.
The Grand Mosque rises before you. Approach. Step onto the cool marble floor. Cross the wide courtyard, where masses rouse from sleep. Anticipation builds as you enter the exalted space. After preparations, you wade into the fray. Immersed in the transcendent experience, you join tens of thousands of performers as they circle the Holy Kaaba in unison.
Then it’s time to perform Sa’ay. You ready to recreate the run between Al Safa and Al Marwah hills, which was first undertaken by Hajar, the wife of the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). You enter a lane, walking or jogging beside other pilgrims – young and old, some carrying babies, some in wheelchairs – along the hallowed route. After seven laps, you make your way out. In the courtyard, you’re greeted by the glorious morning sun and filled with a sense of peace.
The day’s heat subsides as night falls. Fasting ends right after sunset, and the generosity of locals begins. Water and dates are freely given to visitors. Residents pass out platters of chicken and rice. People bring food to the mosque, as a Muslim who helps others break their fasts receives the same recompense as those who fast. The usual pace of the city is even livelier, as normally shuttered shops stay open into the night.