Oklahoma Muslims stranded in Mecca after Tropical Storm Sandy
Pilgrims from state make most of storm-related travel delays, pray for victims of storm
More than 80 Oklahoma Muslims are stranded in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, because of delays caused by Tropical Storm Sandy.
The travel delays came at the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Prayer — an integral component of the Hajj — is what an Oklahoma City imam is asking the pilgrims to do as they await their return flights to America.
“We asked them while in the holy city to pray for victims of Hurricane Sandy,” Imad Enchassi, imam and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said Thursday.
“We pray for everybody's safety in New York but we also pray that they (pilgrims) return safely.”
Enchassi said about 87 members from the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas were prevented from returning to Oklahoma as scheduled because several New York airports closed as Tropical Storm Sandy ravaged the East Coast.
Hajj is a one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. It is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for Muslims who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey. Hajj consists of a series of faith rituals and re-enactments, many of which are called obligations, that commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, at God's command. Instead, God allowed Abraham, who is considered the patriarch of the Islamic faith, to sacrifice a sheep.
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