Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone


Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

Why "iHajj"?

I was asked a question today that no one has ever asked. Why is your blog called “iHajj”? Well, here is the answer:

The word “hajj” is Arabic for “pilgrimage.” Specifically, it refers to the great pilgrimage to and around Mecca that all capable Muslims are supposed to take at least once in their lifetimes. The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and is written about in the Koran. The hajj did not begin with Mohammed, however. By his lifetime, it was already an ancient rite celebrated by the pagan Arabs of Arabia.

I am a person who feels drawn to pilgrimage. I believe that my annual journey to Christ in the Desert Monastery is a pilgrimage, for instance. Christianity has a long tradition of pilgrimage. However, nothing we have really compares to the hajj. It is a deeply communal and liturgical rite. People from all over the world, traveling in groups, wearing special clothing, converge once a year for several days of significant rituals. I think it is a tremendous expression of devotion.

No, I am not a Muslim. As a Christian, I disagree with many core Muslim beliefs. For instance, I firmly believe that no one comes to the Father except through the Son. But I think the hajj is an amazing image of what God has called us to be in Christ. A people called together to cooperate, participate, share, love, and journey as a community. We are called to our rituals, our ancient mysteries, and our coming together from every corner of the earth.

So, that is why “Hajj.” Why “i”? Because it represents the two “i”s that come together for me when I blog. First is the “i” of I. You know, me-me-me. Second is the “i” of “Internet,” which is the forum on which I take my sacred journey in front of you. And perhaps with you.

I am on a sacred journey. Most of it happens in the real world, not on-line. However, bits and pieces of it emerge and converge here. I invite you to participate in part of that journey through what I place on this blog. It becomes my, and our, internet “hajj.” Hence: iHajj.

I also have a little, tiny podcast. I call it hajjpod. Why? Because it’s part of this “hajj,” and it’s a “pod”cast, and it’s a hodgepodge. Ergo: hajjpod. I think of it as part of this blog. Sometimes I post things there that you won't read about here.

Hope this has been helpful.