LIVING TORAH, Shabbat, Jan 9: Pilgrimage to Mecca, personal reflections of two young Canadian Muslim women
Pilgrimage to Mecca
Sana Arif Siddiqui
and Nosheen Raisi
Shabbat morning, January 9
What can we learn from the Muslim religious experience of pilgrimage?
From Abraham’s first hearing of God’s voice, “לך לך -- lech lecha – go forth from your homeland, from your birthplace, from your father’s house to the place I will show you . . . “, our tradition has the possibility that our lifetime journey of purpose from mundane consciousness to the holy can be strengthened and deepened through a bodily journey through space from our mundane physical place to another which is chosen for devotion and relationship with the divine.
Jewish pilgrimage is alive in our times in our going up to Jerusalem as well as visiting the graves of tzaddikim and many other places of holiness. In ages past, our three biblical pilgrimage festivals – Pesah, Shavu’ot and Sukkot, each called a hag -- drew hundreds of thousands to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
One of the greatest pilgrimages in our times is the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. During the annual hajj, literally millions gather from nearly every country in the world. Believers and seekers of different languages, cultures, Muslim sects and traditions gather as one in one place at one time to deepen their devotion to the spiritual journey.
Sana Siddiqui, who has for several years welcomed Ahavat Olam to the Canadian Islamic Cultural Exhibition and spoke with us this past time about hijab, went on hajj last month with an eclectic group of North American Muslims. Sana has generously agreed to share with us her experience, what it means to her and how she hopes it will contribute to shaping her life. Sana has invited 19-year old Douglas College English and Psychology major Nosheen Raisi, who traveled to Mecca in 2008 for umrah (a pilgrimage but not during the designated time of hajj), to share her experiences with us as well.
Sana is an SFU honours student in criminology, completing her thesis on visibly Muslim women in public space. Sana aims to complete to graduate studies in social work. She has been involved in providing leadership to a number of organizations including the Muslim Student Association at SFU, the Canadian Islamic Cultural Exhibition and the Muslim Youth Helpline, a North America-wide counselling service.
Please come explore this religious practice with us on Saturday morning, January 9. Everyone is most welcome. We meet in the Peretz Centre at 6184 Ash Street near 45th and Cambie in Vancouver. We begin our Shabbat morning prayer at 10. Sana and Nosheen will begin their teaching at 11:15 and end about 12:15. Everyone is warmly invited to come whenever they wish and to stay for a vegetarian potluck Shabbat lunch soon after 12:30. Please feel free to share this invitation with anyone you think will be interested.
If you have questions or suggestions, please contact me, Rabbi David Mivasair, at (604) 781-7839. With thanks to the Holy One,
P In the spirit of בל תשחית (do not destroy needlessly), consider the environment before you print this e-mail. www.coejl.org