August 30, 2018

The Holy Land is the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and includes the current day state of Israel, Palestine and parts of Jordan and Syria. Jews, Christians and Muslims consider this holy for various reasons. Unfortunately the Holy Land is as much holy as it is controversial, and a subject of dispute and tension between Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Holy Land is holy because the Scriptures for the Jews, Christians and Muslims proclaimed it holy…. Read more

August 27, 2018

The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus Christ, centered on his moral teachings. It is found in chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew. The Sermon on the Mount is the longest piece of teaching from Jesus in one place and is considered first of the five discourses in Matthew. It is one of the most quoted discourses by Jesus by the Christians. Devout Christians use the Sermon on the Mount to guide their… Read more

August 26, 2018

I just finished the two-day retirement planning seminar sponsored by my work, taught by two of the industry’s best financial planners. It was very helpful and provided an in-depth review of various issues to help us make wise choices as we approach retirement. You may be wondering as to how the retirement planning seminar has any relevance to my Patheos blog. We focus so much on financial growth and financial planning for our retirement but how much do we think… Read more

August 22, 2018

In the past 10 days I had shared several rituals of the Hajj pilgrimage. But it is now time for some reflection: what are the take home messages? What lessons did we learn and how do we apply them when we come back home? These were some of the questions I raised at our last group meeting on the eve of our departure from Mecca. But let me finish the series on the rituals first. After the three days of… Read more

August 21, 2018

After spending a night at Muzdalifah, we headed to Mina for a very important ritual of the Hajj called Ramee Al Jamaraat. It was another reminder that many of the rituals of Hajj are to commemorate and honor Abraham and his family. Ramee is an integral part of Hajj, when the pilgrims throw pebbles at three pillars, marking the spots where Satan met Abraham three times to deceive him. We stayed in Mina for 3 nights among the sea of… Read more

August 20, 2018

There were several most-unforgettable rituals and events during the unforgettable trip. Praying at the mosque of the Prophet in Riaz al Jennah, the first time I laid my eyes on Ka’aba, and the Friday prayer outside the Ka’aba in the simmering heat were among them. And then there was this short stay at Muzdalifah. Muzdalifah is an open area near Mecca on the way to our next stop- Mina. We left Arafat after offering our Maghreb (Sunset) and Isha (evening)… Read more

August 20, 2018

  Muslim pilgrims from around the world are currently gathered in a desert plain called Arafat near Mecca. It brings back memories when last year, we spent a day there as an essential part of Hajj pilgrimage. This is the beginning of the 5-day Hajj period that starts in Arafat, leading to Muztalifah where we will spend the night under the sky, then the tent city of Mina, and will culminate in returning to Mecca to perform the farewell Umrah… Read more

August 18, 2018

So far we had performed the first Umrah in Mecca and we had couple of more days before we would leave the comfort of our hotel rooms and head out to the desert tent cities around Mecca for remainder of the rituals- to be performed in Arafat, Muztalifah and Mina. This gave me an opportunity of a lifetime- to offer Friday prayer at Ka’aba! I left my hotel room around 9 a.m. for the Friday prayers with the thought that I… Read more

August 17, 2018

After putting our Ihram, the next step was to perform Umrah. My heart was bubbling with anticipation and excitement- a very quiet type of excitement. This was my 4th overall trip to Mecca but the first time I laid my eyes on Ka’aba on this Hajj, it felt like the very first time I saw Ka’aba. The heart melted instantaneously, the eyes welled and a feeling of calm and peace overcame me. I am including a few short videos of… Read more

August 16, 2018

Visiting Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in medina and other holy sites was memorable but the Hajj had not even started. The rituals of Hajj pilgrimage start when you begin to approach Mecca. There are several sets of rituals that are required to complete Hajj. The first is to go to a place called Miqat to put your Ihram on. (The unstitched two pieces of white cloth), to make the intention and to recite talbiya. This was the first time when it started… Read more

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