Saudi authorities stepped up preparations for the five-day annual Haj pilgrimage — which begins tomorrow — by mobilizing human and material resources.
More than three million pilgrims, including two million from abroad, are expected to take part in the spiritual event.
Groups of pilgrims have started the move from Madinah and other parts of the Kingdom to Makkah and Mina, chanting Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik (O God, here I am answering your call).
In case you were curious, I'm not going this year. There are a couple reasons for that choice. First, I'm not a Muslim. Second, fitting 2 Million people into a 2 sq. kilometer space is insane. And finally, I rather stick needles in my eyes.Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who is supervising Haj operation from Jeddah, instructed all related government departments to provide the necessary services to the guests of God.
Oh, I'll miss the ceremonial stoning of the devil. But, there's alway the chance I'll find a rape victim in my own neck of the woods at whom I can throw rocks.
Incidentally, non-Muslims are not allowed to approach the "Holy" cities of Mecca and Madinah. It's in the Qur’an.
I'm less heartbroken than you might think over this restriction. It's like Tony Soprano telling me I can't enter Perth Amboy, NJ."Oh you who believe! Truly the idolaters are unclean; so let them not, after this year, approach the Sacred Mosque...."
(Note: This is me exercising my 1st Amendment Rights. I'm belittling the religion of Islam...just as you are free to belittle my own religion...which has to do with a mood ring I picked up at a farmer's market south of Denver, CO)