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Religion

Why Pilgrims Are Dying on the Hajj

Hajj in the Time of Apps

A recent overhaul of Saudi Arabia's visa system has caused the rise of an international network of “Hajj racketeers.” When unauthorized pilgrims reach Mecca, stringent new security measures force them to undertake long, arduous treks on foot under the scorching desert sun to fulfill their religious duties.

For Pilgrims Traveling Unofficially, Performing the Hajj Can Be a Harrowing Journey

Smuggled Into Mecca

A trusted friend informed me of an opportunity to perform the Hajj, albeit informally. I had often heard the saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," but I never imagined that my journey to Mecca outside the official pilgrimage system would lead me to a nightmare.

Ramadan and Eid’s Crescent Wars

Ramadan and Eid’s Crescent Wars

Controversy over how to determine the dates of Ramadan and Eid has long been framed as being about the science of astronomical calculation versus religious traditionalism. Yet this fails to capture the legal heart of the question, and obscures the politics of what I like to call the “Crescent Wars.”

Alone and Pregnant at 15, I Had To Choose Between an Abortion and My Faith

Alone and Pregnant at 15, I Had To Choose Between an Abortion and My Faith

The story of how I had a change of heart about abortion is a journey of a thousand miles, 2 million steps, and I am unable to trace from memory what each of those steps were. But now that I am “pro-choice,” I find myself feeling angry about the way liberals ridicule and caricature those living within the conservative paradigms.

Muslim Matchmaking Goes Online

Muslim Matchmaking Goes Online

The rise of online dating across the world in the past two decades seems to have changed the way Muslims in the United States meet and get married. Frustrated with the arranged marriages their parents attempt to broker, and the restrictions their faith and tradition impose on them, as well as the pressure from their families to get married at an early age, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have embraced the new technology.

Why Scholars of Islam Disagree About the Age of the Prophet Muhammad’s Youngest Wife

Why Scholars of Islam Disagree About the Age of the Prophet Muhammad’s Youngest Wife

An informed and nuanced debate about the marriage of Aisha and Muhammad among Muslims would allow us to better reckon with the prophet’s legacy, and would better inform debates across the Muslim world, as governments consider the ways that their interpretations of religious laws impact the lives of women and children.

A New Saudi Show Challenges ‘Halal’ Sex Rings

A New Saudi Show Challenges ‘Halal’ Sex Rings

The provocative plot of the newly released show “Dahaya Halal” (Halal Victims) — an allusion to the operation’s apparent compliance with religious law, since none of the victims was committing adultery or fornication — has stirred drama, with people from across the Arab world going as far as calling for it to be pulled off the air. It was already taken off when it first began airing in 2020, but it returned this month.