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Islamic Pilgrimage in Mecca: Saudi Arabia 1980

Islamic pilgrimage in Mecca, known as Hajj, is a sacred journey that millions of Muslims embark upon yearly to the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This article present stamps issued by the Saudi post issued in 1980 to commemorate the pilgrimage. It also explores the significance, rituals, and experiences of the pilgrimage, which holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims worldwide.

Significance of the Hajj

Islamic pilgrimage in Mecca -1980- Y&T 505
Pilgrims arriving at Jeddah Airport wearing Ihram -1980- Y&T 505

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and is obligatory for physically and financially capable Muslims at least once in their lifetime. It is a deeply spiritual experience that symbolizes unity, equality, and submission to Allah. The rituals performed during Hajj trace back to the Prophet Muhammad, who completed the pilgrimage in 632 AD, leaving behind a blueprint for generations to follow. 

The pilgrimage to Mecca was practiced by the Arabs before the advent of Islam. For Muslims, the history of the pilgrimage to Mecca dates back to the era of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). They believe that he and his son Ismail are the builders of the Kaaba and the first to walk around it.

Preparations and Arrival:

Prior to embarking on the pilgrimage, Muslims undergo meticulous preparations. They purify their intentions, settle their debts, and seek forgiveness. Upon arriving in Mecca, pilgrims enter a state of consecration known as Ihram, donning simple white garments. This unified clothing signifies humility and equality before Allah.

The Sacred Mosque and the Kaaba:

Islamic pilgrimage in Mecca -1980- Y&T 506
Pilgrims arriving at Jeddah Airport wearing Ihram -1980- Y&T 506

The focal point of Hajj is the Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred Mosque, which encompasses the magnificent Kaaba. Muslims from all corners of the world gather here, forming a diverse tapestry of cultures and languages. The Kaaba, believed to be the first house of worship on Earth, is encircled by pilgrims during the Tawaf. During this ritual they perform seven anti-clockwise circuits in a symbolic representation of unity and devotion to Allah.

Rituals of Hajj:

The Hajj journey involves various rituals. The most significant are the Stand at Arafat, where pilgrims spend the day in prayer and supplication, seeking divine mercy and forgiveness, and the symbolic stoning of pillars representing Satan in Mina. The journey culminates with Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, where pilgrims sacrifice an animal as an act of obedience and gratitude to Allah. The sacrifice of an animal, often a sheep, commemorates the sacrifice of a ram as a substitute for Ismail son of Abraham.

The Spiritual Experience:

Hajj is not merely a physical journey but a deeply spiritual experience. It allows Muslims to detach from worldly distractions, purify their souls, seek forgiveness, and connect with Allah and their fellow believers. The journey fosters a sense of humility, empathy, and unity, leaving a lasting impact on the pilgrims’ lives.


Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca is a transformative experience that holds immense spiritual significance for Muslims worldwide. It is a journey of devotion, self-reflection, and unity, enabling believers to deepen their faith and reaffirm their commitment to Islam. The pilgrimage to Mecca continues to inspire and strengthen the global Muslim community.

Catalogue Reference: Yvert & Tellier 505-506

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