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Hajj and the Transnational Experience from the Turkish Perspective
The Hajj itself brings together Muslims as representing the global nation beyond the differences that might exist within Muslim communities and national boundaries. The Islamic Pilgrimage is the only supranational organization and gathering in the world as it is repeated every year with the large number of participants. This transnational experience generally becomes part of the narratives that pilgrims tell family and friends upon returning home. Hajj narratives are thought to have a positive effect on the pilgrimage motivation of Muslim individuals, as well as their functions in determining or influencing the collective memory. In particular, individuals who have not fulfilled the pilgrimage and have been brought up in culturally Islamic references can feel as if they have experienced the pilgrimage through pilgrimage narratives. This paper aims to take the sociological and anthropological narratives of Turkish pilgrims as a point of departure in discussing the experience of Hajj. So, this work will argue these senses and emotions to be related to the spiritual experience of the pilgrimage to Mecca and to be motivated by the interactions of Muslim pilgrims belonging to diverse backgrounds and nationalities. However, this paper will also argue that the use of senses in descriptions of the pilgrimage at the personal level enables the individual Turkish pilgrims to gain an ongoing awareness and sense regarding the time and place of the pilgrimage upon their return to Turkey. In this sense, as a claim sharing the Hajj experience is a cultural act that also influences people’s expectations of certain physical and emotional responses during the pilgrimage. Eventually, in this work, in the context of testing all these claims, methodologically, the results of in-depth observations with a total of 17 people who went on pilgrimage, will be discussed. Keywords: Hajj, Transnational Community, Identity, Unity, Spirituality, Emotions, Turkish pilgrims
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