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Unwikilinked Hajj. Should be covered fully and completely within the Mecca article.[edit]

I thought this deserved to be pointed out after (WT-en) Colin made the remark in the log. I have to agree - the WikiTravel article is intended to be stand-alone and information about the Hajj could be very useful. -- (WT-en) Ilkirk 13:38, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)

One note, Project:What is an article? specifically states: "As another exception, and an even rarer one, certain exceptional or singularly important festivals/events could have their own articles. Examples are:
Since in two years no one has written an article on either of these events it seems to make more sense to include their info in the parent articles (unless/until that becomes unwieldy, in which case a new article should probably be created), but if that is done then Project:What is an article? should probably be updated. -- (WT-en) Ryan 13:50, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I forgot it was a possible iterary. But since the Mecca article implies that the Haj is a pilgrimage to Mecca alone and no other location, it seems to me the info belongs within the Mecca article unless the info is too large. -- (WT-en) Colin 14:33, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)
No, the Hajj traditionally includes a visit to the other holy city, Medina, where the prophet lived for some years from when he was driven out of Mecca until his triumphant return. Also, almost all pilgrims pass through at least the airport at Jeddah and many visit the city.

OK, I've written a Hajj article. (WT-en) Pashley 07:38, 31 May 2006 (EDT)

If I lie and visit...[edit]

What's the worst that could happen? Could you give me a plausible scenario of how that end result could come about?

Well, the worst would be that you're beheaded (or just beaten to death by a mob), and you could make this happen by, say, sneaking in and then yelling "Muhammed was a poopiehead" at the Kaaba or something. Note that just "lying" isn't going to be enough, converts to Islam usually need a signed certificate from their local mosque attesting to their faith and (for men) foreskinlessness to apply for the Hajj visa. (WT-en) Jpatokal 09:28, 30 May 2006 (EDT)
Okay if I fake it and visit, and remain discreet throughout the faux pilgrimage--is there any plausible way I could be uncovered and die? 10:33, 30 May 2006 (EDT)
Uh, IANAM ('I Am Not A Muslim") but I think that you might easily reveal yourself but not knowing the language, customs, rituals, etc etc... I think you should taking some time to consider what Mecca means to those who devote their whole lives (not to mention a huge part of their life's income) to their visit there. I'm not sure what you're hoping to gain from a "faux pilgrimage." Just to say "been there, done that"? Have you been everywhere else already? (WT-en) Majnoona 10:46, 30 May 2006 (EDT)
Well, I'm planning on giving it a try. I'm big on travel and I'm just not keen on a whole city telling me I can't go. RE: the foreskin business, A) This isn't technically required by the Qur'an, and B) Who's checking?
Has it occurred to you that someone may unintentionally check you while you're urinating? Or do you plan on not drinking out there in the desert for a few days? Also, the notion that a group has no right to keep an out-of-the way sacred city private to themselves is self-centered at best. I mean, if it were a place that you'd want to go if it wasn't sacred is one thing, but to go just because it is? But then, since your not serious about anything except trolling.... -- (WT-en) Colin 03:25, 31 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Don't believe for one moment that you'll be able to fool anyone. You're going to need a visa. For the sake of argument you're an American. According to the Saudi Embassy in D.C. "an Islamic certificate must be presented; this needs to be notarized by an Islamic Center." I doubt very much so an Islamic Center will rubber stamp your request. Also, see The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj [1] - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 03:39, 31 May 2006 (EDT)

I lived in Saudi Arabia in the 80s and was told at the time that the penalty for non-Muslms visiting either Mecca or Medina was death. Sir Richard Burton did it in the 19th century and wrote about it [2]. (WT-en) Pashley 07:07, 31 May 2006 (EDT)

I've flipped through his narrative. It was surprisingly boring! He knew far too much about their customs. There was no challenge.
He didn't learn about their customs by surfing the web, dude. Learning enough to successfully "pass" was part of the challenge. Unless your idea of "a challenge" translates to "doing something foolish that I'm also not prepared for"... then the chances of your story being more interesting than his – but much briefer and never actually written – are pretty good. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 20:42, 5 June 2006 (EDT)

If you really want to go somewhere difficult and adventurous that almost no-one else has been to, try Nurestan. (WT-en) Pashley 20:49, 1 June 2006 (EDT)

Or sail to Howland Island or parachute to the North Pole or canoe up the Amazon or ski Bouvet Island or something else that doesn't have as its focus spitting on the beliefs of other people? - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 20:42, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
But its spitting on other ppl that makes this faux pilgrimage so appealing. Here's what Burton had to say in his account:
There at last it lay, the bourn of my long and weary pilgrimage, realising the plans and hopes of many and many a year … I may truly say that, of all the worshippers who clung weeping to the curtain, or who pressed their beating hearts to the stone, none felt for the moment a deeper emotion than did the Haji from the far north …. But, to confess humbling truth, theirs was the high feeling of religious enthusiasm, mine was the ecstasy of gratified pride.
The fantastic symbolism of overlooking throngs of pious, and knowing you have triumphed over these people. It sounds enchanting.

Nowhere does it say American visas have to be signed for at an Islamic center. This burden is only required of converts: If the applicant has converted to Islam, an Islamic certificate must be presented; this needs to be notarized by an Islamic Center. 04:08, 14 June 2006 (EDT)

I'm the guy who originally posted with the idea of going to Mecca. The reason I want to go is because it's one of the few places considered mamnu3 (forbidden) in the world to me. Those other places mentioned, sure they'd be tough but no one is forbidding me from going. In regards to knowing my stuff, keep in mind that I am very well read when it comes to religion, Islam especially. In addition, I've lived in a predominantly Muslim country. In regards to spitting on the beliefs of other people, I wouldn't consider it spitting on their beliefs as their beliefs are my own, to some extant (I can say the shahadah without lying. I simply don't fit most Muslim organizations' definition of a Muslim). The hajj would be as real to me as for the rest of the participants. I just can't do it 'legit' as doing so would be denying some of the other prophets, which I could never do. (WT-en) Iwsfutcmd 07:17, 14 June 2006 (EDT)

You're giving different (and probably incompatible) answers here: 1) "I want to go because they won't let me." 2) "I want to go because it would be spiritually meaningful to me." Maybe you should figure out which one's correct. Anyway, this page is supposed to be for discussing the contents of the article: it answers the question of whether a non-Muslim is welcome and the likely consequences, and the wisdom to heed that or not is up to you. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 07:45, 14 June 2006 (EDT)

I'm assuming from your above description of yourself that you might be Ahmedi or one of the other sects considered heretical and therefore disallowed from entry. I say quite simply: If you want to go, then go. The prohibition on non-Muslims like you is a relatively recent development and so isn't really to do with the religion, but more to do with logistics, and the whims of the puritans who now rule the country. Besides, once you manage to get yourself a Hajj or Umrah visa no-one is ever going to ask you if you are a Muslim or not. There are checkpoints as you enter Makkah, but they are a formality and if you come into the city by bus/coach, they never ever stop those vehicles to have a look at the people inside. If you are white, then you can expect some primo treatment as the locals have some racial inferiority complexes and absolutely love the idea of white people taking on their religion. If you're not white then you will look just like many millions who come through the city, and no-one will bat an eyelid. Either way, it is worth at least looking like a Muslim, by growing a short beard and/or adopting the attire from one of the Muslim cultures - Indian, Bengali, Malaysian, Arabic, Turkish etc. - and no-one would ever ask if you are Muslim. Having said that, I walked around in jeans and a T-shirt sometimes, and saw many others doing the same, and this wasn't an issue. MuslamicRay (talk) 08:28, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

OK now I am confused[edit]

What is the punishment for a non muslim who tries to go to Mecca, either successfully or unsuccessfully? Deportation, death, or something else?--(WT-en) Jabuddi 03:25, 12 November 2006 (EST)

The death penalty is definitely an option, albeit it's not up for the alleged to decide the punishment. This guy was lucky because the Indian government was able to convince the Saudis that it was not his fault for straying into Medina. I highly doubt Saudis would use the death penalty for people entering Medina and not for Mecca, the holiest Muslim city. -- (WT-en) Sapphire(Talk) • 22:52, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I reread the article I provided and while there have never been any reported or registered state sanctioned execution of non-Muslims should we keep the warning as it is or should we note that apparently Saudi officials will or may (we can never know how they may view things) take a lenient view if the violation appears accidental? -- (WT-en) Sapphire(Talk) • 00:19, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I confess to being confused on this issue too. Argh. -- (WT-en) Colin 14:35, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I think the death penalty is very much an option, however, the Saudis are kind of forced to take a lenient view. I mean why would they execute a foreigner whose home nation is as powerful as India, the U.K. or the U.S? It'd be incredibly stupid and would put a huge strain on foreign relations.
Anyhow, hopefully I can put an end to this question – I just emailed the Saudi Embassy in D.C., but I'm doubtful that they'll actually answer my question, which was quite to the point: Could you please explain to me if a non-Muslim enters Medina or Makkah will they potentially face the possibility of execution? -- (WT-en) Sapphire(Talk) • 15:05, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, actually they did reply. Non-Muslims would not be executed for entering the holy cities. — The Saudi Embassy, Washington, D.C.
I didn't copy over the entire email, but they list the reasons why they do not want non-Muslims to visit the cities. The first was due to the logistics – they already have millions of pilgrims visiting during Hajj and Umrah so resources can wear thin. Imagine if they had to deal with another 3 million people who simply want to go to see what's going on. The other major reason is because non-Muslims visiting would detract from the pilgrims' experience. Plus, what's the point of going if all you're going to do is watch people pray.
So at long last I (and Wikivoyage) have solved the age old question. No you will not die (by the hands of the Saudi government). Just don't piss off any pilgrims or get caught because you're likely to get kicked out of and jailed (as was the case with the Indian man). -- (WT-en) Sapphire(Talk) • 16:58, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for doing the footwork on this! -- (WT-en) Colin 17:51, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Out of curiosity I emailed the embassy again and asked them about jail and deportation as this happened to the Indian man. The article indicates that the Indian guy was detained by the religious police and its volunteers, but the embassy tells me that that organization does not have the power to detain or arrest anyone, which has really confused me. I also emailed the Ministry of Hajj in the hopes of getting their take. -- (WT-en) Sapphire(Talk) • 14:31, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
The mutawwa alone do not have the power to arrest people, but they usually patrol with regular cops, who do. (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:18, 11 February 2008 (EST)

As I understand it the embassy isn't been wholly forthcoming, I remember asking a few years back and the reply stated that Saudi (Sharia) law has no set penalty for any crime so technically it could happen. Clearly they now have ruled it out, you can get fined for driving towards Mecca, in Mecca probably jail or lashings. Besides if you were absolutely determined convert to Islam then the certificate wouldn't be a problem. Personally I am already essentially convered with regards to my feelings for the other faiths but would not perform Hajj unless I was 100% sure of everything, there is a lesser pilgrimage called Umrah which features the walking around the Kabba and running between the two hills but doesn't go much further and outside of Hajj you could still visit the Hajj sites (mostly. There isn't much in it for a normal secular tourist though, the two holy mosques are almost entirely modern in their construction, the Kabba is in it's fourth of fifth forme etc.

What will be happen?[edit]

What would happen if a person(on Umrah visa) try to visit other cities like Ryadh, Jeddah or Dammam to meet with relatives.. Jailed or fined? -- 04:56, 18 June 2009 (EDT)

Visiting Jeddah on an umrah visa is usually allowed. But otherwise, you may be "subject to punishment, including imprisonment or fines of ten thousand riyals". [3]

Public transportation? or none?[edit]

The Get around section of our article says "Local buses, taxis, and micro-buses are widely available in Mecca and are inexpensive." However, the transportation section of the wikipedia article says "The city lacks any public transportation options for residents and visitors alike, both during and outside of the pilgrimage season. The main transportation options available for travel within and around the city are either personal vehicles or private taxis." Which one is correct? Texugo (talk) 01:55, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, didn't spotted this until yet. Texugo, Mecca is an important city of the kingdom, has seen tremendous expansion and improvement in infrastructure, and public transportation is good throughout the year. --Saqib (talk) 10:51, 23 December 2013 (UTC)