As for me, I consider Fidelma O`Leary the most interesting pilgrim, because I found her to be the most spiritually devoted believer and I felt that she possesses a peaceful energetics along with aspiration to cognize Allah and all that concerns Him. I liked the devotion she manifested in her desire to attend Mecca, in spite of being a delicate woman. I also appreciated the way she analyzed her religion, while being a college student. One of the questions she raised was about Jesus, who worshipped God, whilst being a God himself. She made me think about this issue, too.
In my opinion, Fidelma does a good job by studying Islamic scriptures several times a week with her called sisters – this makes her stronger spiritually and prepares her for the tough journey. I saw her standing on her knees in the middle of a big crowd of palmers; she was really different from all the other people around her – she must have a great will power to withstand the oppression of her family and incomprehension of her American acquaintances, connected with her religious choice. I also liked the fact that she obeyed to the Islamic canon of the woman`s subordination to man in the resolution of her Hajj.
I found interesting the fact that people from other confessions are not allowed to attend Mecca at all. I asked myself how could it be, that such a widespread religion is so standalone and hostile towards the ‘unfaithful’? Despite this fact, I learned that more and more people from all over the Earth join Islam and they struggle for the right to be called Muslims. I liked the moving of people around the Kaaba – it resembled a living whirlpool, a kind of meditative performance. The awesome panoramic shooting of Mecca and Kaaba left an indelible impression of that holy place and aroused my interest to Islam and all that is connected to it. I also enjoyed the video because I am not a Muslim and I would have no chance to see what takes place inside Mecca in such a detailed description. The short insight in the history of Kaaba was informative as well. I got to know that all the nationalities are divided in separate camp-sites. I guess, this division can be explained by the convenience of the pilgrims.
I learned a lot about Islam from National Geographic`s video. First of all, I discovered that the Kaaba is not a big construction, and it contains a little room inside, which is not at all remarkable for its internal decoration. I also found out that Kaaba has been renovated by the example of its ancient version that is believed to be attended by Abraham and previously built by Adam himself! The documentary narrates about the ancient story when Abraham barely killed his only-begotten son Isaac in the name of God, when an angel came to earth and stopped him. The angel told Abraham that he can immolate a sheep instead, for his devotion to God has been proven true. Nowadays, Muslims sacrifice about seven or eight hundred sheep every year at the time of Hajj, and send them to the poor from across the world. Besides, I learned that Muslims have a ceremony of lapidation of Satan. They throw stones, footwear, and all the things they have in big petro columns, placed round Kaaba. This rite symbolizes spiritual liberation of the believers from all their negative emotions and epurates their mind and soul from evil, before they reach the sacred place.