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Haj Arab

pilgrimage, haji and mecca

HAJ. ARAB. A pilgrimage by a Mahomedan to Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Sinai, etc. ; hence 'the title Haji, a pilgrim. Hajjat, a woman pilgrim. The pilgrimage of Mahornedans to Mecca—en joined by the Koran (Sura, x_xii. 28)—is incumbent on all men and women who have sufficient means to meet the expenses_ of the journey, and to main tain their families at honie during their absence. Its ceremonial continues during three days of the month Zi-ul-haj. The day of the ceremony is the 10th Zi-ul-haj,on the Eed- Kurban or Bakrid feStival. The setting forth of the pilgrims from the distant parts of the world is generally attended with great show. The Persian Shiah sect resort in pilgrimage to three places. The town of Meshid is reckoned the least in the scale of sanctity ; and those who have been there to the tomb of Imam-Raza, obtain the title of Meshidi. The next after them are the Karbalai, who stand a degree higher in estimation ; while those only who have ' visited the Kaba at Mecca and the tomb of Mahomed at Medina, can lay claim to the title of Haji. A Persian will feel offended if you

call him Meshidi, when he has a right to the superior degree of Karbalai, or the still higher and more pompous appellation of Haji. Thus Meshidi, Karbalai, and Haji become titles of distinction. Haj-ul-Asghar, the lesser pilgrimage. Haj-ul-Akbar, the greater pilgrimage. About 70,000 annually visit Mecca.

. The Indian Haj is the most numerous of all the pilgrimages which arrive every year at Jeddah. In 1880 it consisted of 15,000 souls, the next most numerous being the Malay_Haj, which num bered 12,000. The latter consists mostly of Dutch subjects. The Dutch encourage their subjects to visit the holy places in Arabia, on the principle that the experience which is gained on the journey of the tyranny and extortion of the 31usalman government in Hejaz tends to increase in a Haji the sense of the advantages he enjoys at home.

Haj Darwazah, or Mecca Darwazah, the pilgrim gate of the city, from which the pilgrims issue when proceeding on pilgrimage.