A chance to worship in style

The ancient cities of Islam still have a certain romance to them. However, something was lost with the zeal to modernise Mecca.

Nothing can prepare you for the number of people at Hajj.

The entire city of Mecca is packed tight. The first day our news crew got to Mecca, we got caught outside the grand mosque just before afternoon prayers.

We were trying to get to our hotel and it took hours to move a few metres.

People were literally crawling all over each other. I was stepping over someone who must have been offended that I was wearing shoes near the grand mosque because he tried to tear them off my feet.

The number of people is truly overwhelming, and the crowds get bigger and bigger as the Hajj week goes on.

The Kabah, Islam’s holiest site, is surrounded by malls and hotels.

They are big and take up all the space pilgrims could have used to gather and worship.

The malls aren’t really a part of getting back to God. But they do offer pilgrims a chance to worship in style.

Not far away from the Kabah, you can buy yourself a Rolex.

And if you need a morning jolt before getting into the mood for piety, Starbucks is just around the corner.

The ancient cities of Islam still have a certain romance to them.

But Mecca deosn’t feel that way. Something was lost with the zeal to modernise.

As our cameraman was putting on his Ihram, two unstitched pieces fabric all male pilgrims are required to wear, he tore off a tag sewn into the edge.

It said: “Made in China”.

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