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The Hajj


The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every Muslim who is physically or financially able must make the Hajj once in a lifetime.

The four days recall events in the life of the prophet Abraham. Muslims trace their lineage to his first son, Ishmael. Abraham left the infant Ishmael and the boy's mother, Hagar, in the valley where Mecca is now located, believing that God would care for them.

Muslims believe that God asked Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael, then spared the boy after Abraham showed his willingness to obey the command.

The Prophet Muhammad spelled out the practice of the Hajj.

Here are some of the major activities or rituals:

Circling of the Ka'aba, the stone building Muslims believe was originally built by Abraham and Ishmael. All Muslims pray facing the direction of the Ka'aba.

Running between two small hills near the Ka'aba to re-enact Hagar's search for water to offer to Ishmael.

Standing to pray at Mount Arafat is the climax, when pilgrims gather in the presence of God.

Stoning three pillars representing Satan's temptation of Abraham and the pilgrim's rejection of evil deeds.

Cutting the hair to symbolize the completion of Hajj.

Sacrificing an animal and remembering Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. To observe the holiday, U.S. Muslims may donate money to charities that slaughter animals in other countries and give the meat to the poor.


Sources: Council on American-Islamic Relations,


New fire station for Hemet: Hemet City Council has agreed on the location for its permanent Fire Station 4, which will be built at the corner of Cawston and Statson avenues, City Manager Steve Temple said. The station is operating in the interim out of the Hemet-Ryan Airport. Riverside County owns the Cawston/Stetson property and offered it to the city for $1, Temple said.

Black history: A Gospelfest Sunday in San Bernardino will open Inland Catholics' celebrations of Black History Month. Choirs will perform at 6 p.m. at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 1640 Western Ave., in San Bernardino. Admission is free. The Rev. Norman Fischer Jr. of Kentucky will lead a revival at 7 p.m. March 1 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church, 2713 S. Grove Ave., in Ontario. He will preach at the African-American Liturgical Mass at 5 p.m. March 2, also at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Oscar Pratt will conduct a music workshop at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at St. Anthony. Information: (909) 475-5194.

-- The Press-Enterprise

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