CAIRO - As Muslims flock to hajj from around the globe, a Massachusetts Islamic school has offered students spiritual insights for the life-time journey through its special program on hajj.
My life really wouldn't be complete without going there, Madinah Xhemalallari, a seventh-grader at Alhuda Academy, who attended the program, told the Telegram.
At the event held last Friday, young students joined a school presentation marking the Hajj pilgrimage at Alhuda Academy in Worcester, which serves 108 students from Central Massachusetts.
Wearing the simple, white un-sewn garments of hajj, students walk around the small model of Ka`aba, which is called Tawaf.
The presentation was part of a special program for kids in preschool to grade 8 to educate them on the fifth pillar of Islam.
Showing hajj spirit, exhibits and essays about the pilgrimage were presented on for visitors, said Sawsan Berjawi, principal at the school.
Tawaf is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage.
During Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are to circumambulate the Ka`abah seven times, in an anti-clockwise direction.
The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around their central shrine, while supplicating to God "Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik".
According to Islamic tradition the Tawaf of the Ka'bah is a depiction of the Tawaf that runs above the Jannat al Firdaws in the seventh heaven where the Arsh (Allah's throne) is situated.
And that's my dream, to go there someday, said 12-year-old Muhammad Farrag.
Muslims from around the world pour to Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, which will started on Tuesday, October 14.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Preparing students for the event, the teachers at the Islamic academy have been talking to students about hajj journey over the past month.
It's a spiritual high that carries you for some time, said Nana Abdelkader, who teaches science at the academy to students in grades 6 to 8 and has visited Makkah.
The journey is filled with such energy and adrenaline.
Teachers have also offered insights on the position of Makkah in Islam, being home to the holiest Muslim places, including Ka`aba, Al-Masjid Al-Haram and Mount Arafat.
Some Muslims go many, many times, said Tahir Ali, a spokesman for the local Islamic community.
The pilgrimage is at the center of our faith.
US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million.
A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
Hajj is officially expected to fall between October 13 and 18, with the climax falling on October 14 when the faithful descend the Mount `Arafat.
`Eid Al Adha will start on Tuesday, October 15, according to Saudi Islamic Justice authorities.