There should be a little more in this node about the significance of Hajj as the final of the Five Pillars.

Hajj is special in that it isn't a recurring activity, it is a one off, a wildcard, and bonus ticket, that means that you are able to go somewhere on Earth, and wipe your soul clean of all the sins it has accumulated since you were born. You are clean, free, with the wonderful knowledge that if you were to die now that you would enter paradise.

It is the most life affirming state of mind I can think of, as I felt a shade of it when I went for Umrah. The sheer presence of all those people, all earnestly praying for forgiveness, repenting all their past sins, all walking under the same sky in the same robes. You could be next to a king, or a shoe maker, there is no way to tell, the blind walk with the deaf and the hearing being led by their kind companions in most cases strangers, those who are unable to walk are carried by those who are, the old and the young, men and women, together in the face of God, judged not by race, or by wealth or by honour, but on their sincerity.

All this in a crowd of two million in the middle of the desert, an awe inspiring site, and an even more awe inspiring feeling. There is nothing to compare to in this world. Muslims go back changed, it is hard to imagine this but it is true. The hardship endured on the Hajj, the intensity of one's emotions, the over powering sense of presence of Allah, all through the day, and all through the night, it can never be taken away, and the feeling of being cleansed, of being freed stays with you like and echo of a promise of freedom that keeps you strong during the hard days of your life ahead, and the lonely times when you struggle, because you know that one day you will be finished with your life and you will return to your Creator, a free and whole human being. If you can understand this, then you begin to realize why Muslims are so passionate about their religion, it is all consuming, from spiritual birth, until death, and beyond. The Hajj is an acknowledgement of this, and even more, a immersive expression of this relationship between Man and His God.