The COVID Hajj

Islam's annual pilgrimage has been mostly halted. But its spiritual lessons are as vital as ever.

Mecca.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

There are very few gatherings on the face of the Earth which capture more of the world's imagination than the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Every year, over two million Muslims (out of a staggering 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide) from every country on the planet embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey to fulfill the fifth foundational pillar of Islam.

Just the aesthetic beauty and power of seeing so many people from every race congregate together in Mecca can be overwhelming. Imagine yourself in a sold-out football stadium with 80,000 people and then multiply that 25 times. In terms of economic impact, the Hajj (and lesser Umrah) pilgrimage generates about $12 billion in revenue for Saudi Arabia.

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