- Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering
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- by Kremer, Michael; Khwaja, Asim; Clingingsmith, David
- We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our
method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by
Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling
of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be
accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the
Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices such as prayer and fasting while
decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs such as the use of amulets
and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and
Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater
acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic
world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show
increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different
religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are more a result of exposure to
and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than religious instruction
or a changed social role of pilgrims upon return.
- Publication Type: WCFIA Working Paper
- Published Date: April 2008
- Field of Interest: Global Issues
- Clingingsmith, David, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, and Michael Kremer. "Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering." Weatherhead Center Working Paper No.
2008-0128. April 2008.