Mecca in Morocco: Articulations of the Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) in Moroccan everyday life

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This PhD thesis concerns the ways in which the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, is embedded in Moroccan society. Approaching pilgrimage from the perspective of lived religion, the overarching question is: How does Hajj feature in the everyday lives of Moroccans and how are Moroccan views on Hajj are negotiated in pilgrims’ micro-practices?
The red thread that runs through this thesis is the argument that although the Hajj is performed in a place far away from Morocco, taking Moroccans out of their daily life worlds, the practices, experiences and the meanings that they attach to Hajj are shaped by, and in turn go on to shape, their life and world upon return. In the various parts in the thesis I demonstrate from different perspectives how the everyday Moroccan context shapes pilgrims’ perceptions of their experience in Mecca and, in return, how after having completed Hajj they position themselves and are positioned as members of their community. Particularly important are the myriad ways in which the experience of being a ḥājj/ ḥājja shapes their everyday life, social relations and micro-practices. I discuss how memories of the Hajj experience and the visits to Mecca and Medina permeate everyday life for returning pilgrims, influencing their actions, values and attitudes, as well as their sense of Moroccan identity, serving as a major reference point for their personal and social identifications.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Buitelaar, Marjo, Supervisor
  • Wilde, Clare, Co-supervisor
Award date10-Sept-2020
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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