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Friday, 2 May 2008

Harvard study shows positive impacts of Muslim hajj

Harvard study shows positive impacts of Muslim hajj

Study finds that Muslim pilgrimage experience promotes peace, harmony, women’s rights.

HARVARD, Massachusetts – A study on the longer-term effect of participating in the Islamic pilgrimage found that Muslims communities have become more open in many ways after the Hajj experience.

The study, published by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, says that hajj – Muslim pilgrimage - urges equality and harmony.

“It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment,” the study found.

Entitled ‘Estimating the Impact of the Haj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering’, the study also found that the hajj experience promotes peaceful coexistence.

“Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims,” stressed the Harvard study, adding that “Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions.”

The study, which was based on data from over 1,600 applicants to Pakistan’s hajj visa allocation lottery in 2006, can be downloaded here.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam that Muslims are expected to perform at least once in their lives if they have the means to do so.

Further reading (within this blog)

(1) Hajj - a brief introduction

(2) Short history of Hajj . In Qur'an

(3) When Hajj becomes Fard and the different types of Hajj