The Meaning of Mecca

The Meaning of Mecca
AP Photo/Dar Yasin

One of the largest gatherings of religious pilgrims in the world, the hajj, begins Friday in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. More than two million Muslim men, women and children will assemble to honor the prophet Abraham and his second wife, Hagar. All of them will be challenged to uphold the spirit of the hajj.

People of many faiths know the story of Abraham leaving Hagar and baby Ishmael in the desert and returning home to Sarah. Years later he went back to visit Ishmael, then a grown man. According to the Quran, together they built a cubic structure called the Kaaba and dedicated it to the one God.

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