“The Islamic Ritual of Hajj: Ancient Cosmology and Spirituality,” by Majed S. Al-Lehaibi

Hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, can be understood within the cyclical nature of ancient cosmology. The sun or light is the Platonic symbol of knowledge and a sign of the life-giving force of God; the light is also the Aristotelian unmoved mover that sets everything in motion just by being desired and sought after. This paper comes to see these symbols as part of the religious ritual of Hajj, with the Ka’aba, the shrine of God, representing the sun and God’s immanence, and the people representing the celestial spheres moved by love and desire to go in a circular cosmic manner around it. Further, this eternal circular motion (attributed to the celestial spheres) implies that time is a regenerative process and death itself is a transitional state leading to a higher and purer form. Read more here.

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