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Stories of the modern pilgrimage

The Hajj pilgrimage unites Muslims globally, emphasizing equality and humility. Participants wear simple white garments, leaving material possessions behind. This profound spiritual journey, involving prayer and reflection, often leads to personal transformation. Souvenirs include dates and zamzam water, symbolizing the experience's lasting impact. Created by British Museum.

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Video transcript

I took my mother, took my father, took my wife I took my mother-in-law, I took my sisters I went on the Hajj with my best friend and my husband My dad, my mum, my brother, and my other brother and my sister and my cousin and my aunty and my uncle and my grandma and my other cousin The Ihram, you have to have that on which for many is two pieces of cloth, very very basic that's what you have to wear Two white sheets that are resembling the shroud that people will wear on the day they die and the day they're resurrected When I was at Heathrow Airport I decided to put it on then A lot of people decided to put it on just before they reach the boundary so everybody rushes to the bathrooms on the aeroplane You're surrounded by people from all over the world that are dressed in exactly the same thing so you left all of your material things behind No rich, no poor, everyone's the same, equal equal in the Muslim religion It was very strange wearing two towels basically When I went I just burst into tears and I cried for fifteen minutes When you stand on the plane and you see three, four million people around you it's just an amazing sight It's the first time in my life something had really just hit me to the core Profound spiritual experience and my perspective on life had totally changed And so all you do is you eat, you pray, you sleep, that is it I just found it really beautiful and also the fact that everybody around me was doing that too The entire experience of such a journey as if it is growing on me and in return I'm growing to live up to its, if you like, demands, spiritual demands If you want to know how the day of judgment feels you go for Hajj because it's just between you and God I actually forgot that I had three children that I'd left behind and after I'd finished the Hajj, I thought oh my god I wonder how my three kids are I wanted to go up the mountain to this cave called Gar Hira but my dad said it was too steep and I was too young So when I'm older I want to do that It's meant to cleanse all your sins and that's how I felt and that's how I still feel sorry Spiritually I brought an awful lot back from Mecca I didn't really bring back tangible objects it was more mental and psychological I try and bring something different back every year dates of course dates, brought a lot of dates from Medina some zamzam water zamzam water zamzam water The one piece of jewellery I bought myself back as a way of memento is the locket I'm wearing at the minute