Research shows that increased religious orthodoxy does not automatically translate into extremism and violence.
Some men performing this act of worship are fully cognizant of the story, its symbolism and relevance today. Others would do well to remember in whose footsteps they walk during the sayee, and who's example they emulate.
When you see people circling the Ka'aba it may look like a swarm, a school of fish, a galaxy swirling its way counterclockwise ... just because. From overhead it's a maelstrom that never sinks into the sea. It's a powerful, living organism, a community of Babel, in which individuals experience communion with "the other."
The Hajj is almost complete, and pilgrims are taking their final steps of their spiritual journey to get closer to God. As this sacred time draws to a close, I am reminded of my grandfather Bashir Karamali's personal experience on this holy trip.
Do we, in fact, speak "Muslim"? Heading by car from Medina south to Mecca, about a four-hour drive, I had time to consider. The Muslim language is spoken worldwide in unique communities. And here in Mecca it is lingua franca.
What is submission to God? It's nothing more than subscribing to an orderly system where everything remains in place and runs smoothly.
Being in Medina is like the prelude to a musical, hinting at themes that may rise during the hajj itself.
This is my third venture to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina that lie in the western realm of today's Saudi kingdom to make a film on the Hajj pilgrimage. It's a privilege and a mountain of effort to do this work.
Eid ul-Adha reminds me every year that what we believe about God doesn't matter as much as whether we believe in God in the first place.
I pray this spiritual mediation exercise will include us, in spirit, in the ranks of 2012 Muslim pilgrims -- it will include our prayers and supplications to theirs and these sincere cries will be received by the Almighty God as such.
Hajj calls upon our inner eye, the one that sees the spiritual worth of a person over the physical manifestation. Your beauty is found not in the physical aspects, but emanates from your capacity to exhibit kindness
One American's personal transformation through his Hajj experience changed the course of his personal history, and the history of his community, his country and beyond.
The arts can push politics aside and allow the true spirit of a people to emerge and be viewed by the rest of the world.
The Muslim Hajj, while commanded by God, truly became a symbol of unity and brotherhood by the call of Prophet Muhammad. Trayvon's death is an opportunity for white church leaders to make it their calling.
You don't have to go round it seven times, but you almost feel you should. You almost feel, when you go into what used to be the reading room at the British Museum and hear the wailing of a human voice that millions hear as a call to prayer, as if you should swap your jeans for a tunic.
Millions of Muslims are satisfied to celebrate at home, while waiting for Mecca, Medina and Hajj to be freed from the grip of the Wahhabis and to regain their past splendor -- a spiritual, not commercial, illumination.