Shopkeepers in India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir state rejoiced over the increase in the sale of religious items, as the city markets were choc a block with the pilgrims ahead of their Haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
The sale of religious items needed for the pilgrimage has increased in Srinagar city with the devotees preparing for ‘Haj’ pilgrimage to Mecca, the sacred place of Muslims.
‘Haj’ is considered as an imperative duty for the Muslims. Every sane adult and financially sound Muslim is required to pay at least one visit in his or her lifetime.
Amid enthusiasm, a Haj pilgrim, Ali Muhammad said that he enjoyed purchasing the religious items on highly discounted rates.
“With God’s grace, I am very happy and I am enjoying every bit of shopping for religious item. For our Haj pilgrimage we purchase several items and this pilgrimage is a journey to heaven and that is why we purchase lot of items,” said Muhammad.
The pilgrims purchase products like Ahram (soft towel material compulsory for the men to wear before conducting Haj), towels, air bags, passport bags, rosary beads, mats, slippers and other cotton dresses.
As one of Islam’s five pillars, the Haj is enjoined on all Muslims who are physically able to carry it out.
The dealer of Haj items, Muhammad Rafiq Mir expressed his happiness over the increasing demand for the religious items among the pilgrims.
“For two-three months there is huge demand for religious items. We sell lot of items for the pilgrims including passport bags, mats, pillow, sheets for prayers, traditional menswear, rosary etc. We provide them with every necessary item so that they do not have to wander,” said Mir.
The grand mosques in Mecca and Medina, the two holiest in Islam, draw millions of pilgrims annually.
Haj starts on the eighth day of the lunar month of Dhul Hijja, which falls this year October 24-29, most pilgrims come earlier to visit the holy mosques in Mecca and nearby Medina, where the prophet Muhammad was buried over 1,400 years ago.
Among the rites they must perform during the three-day pilgrimage, hajis must walk seven times around the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building at the center of the Grand Mosque, pray at nearby Mount Arafat and ritually stone the devil by hurling pebbles at three walls.