Tourism and Islam, Considerations of culture and duty

Historically, Islam and tourism have very close relationship. Islam’s doctrine mentioned that Muslim should consider their travelling in order to be closer to God and commemorate the history of Islam itself. Timothy and Iverson in this chapter described clearly about the relationship between Islam, tourism and the culture. They examined the tenets of Islam and their influences on travel, tourism and pilgrimage in this religion. This also focused on pattern of tourism in primarily Islam nations, followed by an examination of one of the largest travel phenomena in the world, the Hajj, and its religious and tourism-related components.

According to Timothy and Iverson the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the most important travel destination of Muslim as noted in the fifth pillar of Islam (Hajj). Moreover, another type of religious journey and practice occurs in Mecca, namely the Umrah. Different with Hajj, Umrah is not obligatory in Islam, and it is done any time of the year to encourage demonstration of devotion to God. Timothy and Iverson stated this argument because Islam for long time ago has had pilgrimage tradition which starts from Ibrahim’s story and his son when built the God’s house (Ka’bbah) in Mecca. By this story, Islam taught to the Muslims that the pilgrimage is a must and this also becomes the Muslim’s culture annually to do. In my opinion, besides doing pilgrimage, the Muslim also do tourism to reduce their stress by visiting another city such as Medina and Jerusalem as their holy cities. That’s the way how Muslim do the travel.

Aziz (2002) stated that Arab has a negative image in the western media. In this field, Islam is described as oppressive, harsh, violent and intolerant. By this statement, nowadays, and powered by the wars in some Muslims countries, the other countries with the bad impression of Islam more assume that the tourism places in Muslim country are not interesting. Timothy and Iverson also stated that Muslim tourism is anti-mainstream that make them face some problem and opportunities. The Iran’s war, Gaza’s war and the event of 11 September create a stereotype of the religious and social values of the Muslim destination, and make the non-Muslim prohibit their visiting into some Muslims countries, include Indonesia and Malaysia. I think, this actions is not really true, because the revelations in the Quran encourages tolerance in religions, ethnicities and racial diversity (Brown 2004; Hidayat 1993). Therefore, the Non-Muslim should open their eyes to look the beautiful of Islam, includes the tour destination of Muslim countries.

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