The Hajj and the Struggle for Islamic Hegemony

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The ethnic Sunni-Shiite rift parallels the Saudi-Iranian political rift, the Wahhabi-Muslim Brotherhood ideological rift, and the historic rift between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Tensions over Islamic hegemony arising from these rifts are likely to come to a boil at the 2017 Hajj.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, is the first day of Zhu–l-Hijjat, the Muslim month in which two important events take place: the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the most central of the five Islamic commandments; and the Holiday of the Offering, Id al-Adha, with which it comes to an end. This month is notable in the Muslim world as a result of its religious content, but also due to the political aspects that accompany that content.

It is well known that in Islam, there can be no separation between religion and state, between religious factors, public issues, and politics.

The Hajj ceremonies in Mecca and its environs last for nine days, from the first to the ninth of the month, with each day having its own specific rituals. The tenth day marks the start of Id al-Adha, the holiday of the offering, which lasts for four days, until the 13th.

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