It is now Hajj season in Saudi Arabia, where pilgrims are performing the pilgrimage, and Muslims around the world increase their prayers and supplications.
Palestinian children in kindergartens and private schools in Gaza are also learning to perform the Hajj. Schools have assembled make shift Kabaas, the black cube around which pilgrims circulate during the Hajj, to teach students the Hajj rituals.
Director of Al-Mutamayizoon Educational Institute, Fatima Al-Hindi, told MEMO that they do this activity every year in order to familiarise Muslim children with the Hajj rituals and in order for them to experience them in a manner that they will remember so that it is instilled in their minds at a young age. This will be beneficial for them in the future as they will perform these rituals when they are adults to complete one of the main pillars of Islam.
Fatima notes that this activity is not imposed by the Ministry of Education; rather some kindergartens do it out of their desire to educate children about Islam. The children practice the various rituals of Hajj, including circling the Kaaba, walking back and forth between the Safa and Marwa, throwing stones at the three pillars which represent the devil, animal sacrifice, and cutting or shaving their hair. They also include a date market, as dates are traditionally bought in Saudi Arabia.
Images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.