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Hajji
Arabic: hajjī


Islamic title for a person who has completed the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, while the person still in the process of completing it is generally called hājj (note the long 'a').
The term is added to the name of a person, and considered as an honourable title. For many Muslims, at least in earlier times, going on the hajj was an act that could only be performed once in a lifetime by a fortunate elite, due to long distances, dangers and expense. This minority has increased in modern times, as better ships and overland transport, as well as airplanes, have made distances less of a problem.
As more people (but still a small number, below 10% of Muslims), go on the hajj, the importance of being a hajji, has been watered down. While the total time expended on a hajj in earlier times could take years, now many Muslims manage to squeeze the full hajj into an extended holiday of 3-6 weeks.
Some of the old days' grandeur is also lost with the ease and safety of the modern hajj. Medical personnel, accessibility to water, and the expansion of the Great Mosque in Mecca has significantly reduced the number of people dying or getting hurt or sick while on a hajj. Still, great disasters have happened almost every year recently. In 2006, about 345 hajjs died in a stampede.
A hajji is considered an enlightened person, but is almost never ascribed any powers beyond the baraka (blessing) which is the result of visiting what Muslims consider to be the most holy place in the world.




By Tore Kjeilen