Tuesday, June 08, 2010


I was sitting on the picnic table outside the marina café this morning, hiding from the sun, and watching the activity on Toketie across the way.  Mohammed, Abdul's brother, and currently my neighbour, also a taxi driver, was sitting beside me.  Naturally the conversation turned to religion and after agreeing that most religions were basically the same in terms of having one God, Mohammed said God makes one path and man makes many!  By this he meant the distinctions between Moslem and Christian or any other variation on the theme.  So I asked him if he had been on the Hajj ( or حج‎ in Arabic) which is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is currently the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).  The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Ibrahim (Abraham).  Well Mohammed had not as he could not afford it but he did have in-laws who have been several times.  Abraham sounded familiar from a previous incarnation of mine and I wondered how it was that people could stray so far from their roots.  But Mohammed had a fare to attend to and I wandered back to watch them spray several coats of paint on Toketie's decks, marvelling at what an interesting life it is at times!

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