Flucht aus Mekka

LOS ANGELES – Bei einer Massenpanik während der islamischen Wallfahrt Hadsch sind nahe Mekka vor kurzem über Tausend Pilger zu Tode getrampelt worden. Der Vorfall erinnert auf tragische, aber nachdrückliche Weise an die Bedeutung der Stadt in der islamischen Welt. Der theologischen Tradition zufolge muss jeder Muslim die Pilgerreise einmal im Leben antreten, sofern er dazu imstande ist.

Tatsächlich spielt die Wallfahrt nach Mekka jedoch erst in neuerer Zeit eine derart wichtige Rolle im Islam. Die Stadt hatte schon immer symbolische Bedeutung, doch ihre Bedeutung für Millionen von Muslime auf aller Welt ist größtenteils ein modernes Phänomen; eines, das in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten gewachsen ist, als saudische Offizielle und fundamentalistische wahhabitische Kleriker begannen, religiösen Tourismus zu fördern, um ihren Einfluss auszuweiten.

Während eines Großteils der islamischen Geschichte hat die überwältigende Mehrheit der Muslime keine Reise nach Mekka unternommen. Stattdessen haben sie bedeutende lokale Heiligtümer besucht, die in der islamischen Welt noch immer in großer Zahl erhalten sind. Einige sind Propheten gewidmet, die sogar noch älter als Mohammed sind; andere schiitischen Imamen oder Sufi-Heiligen und wieder andere als heilig verehrten muslimischen Frauen. Der Name eines Heiligtums, die Nekropole von Makli in Pakistan, verweist auf mittelalterliche Bestrebungen, zu einem alternativen Ziel für Pilger zu werden: Makli bedeutet das „kleine Mekka“.

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