Written by Michael E. Jansenhttp://www.saudiaramcoworld.
This article appeared on pages 30-39 of the November/December 1974 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.
I was in Mecca at last. Before me was the Ka'bah, a great black cube partly submerged in a torrent of white-robed pilgrims circling round and round. Around us, like a great dam containing the torrent, stood the massive walls and the seven slim minarets of the Sacred Mosque. High above, the muezzin began the evening call to prayer: "Allahu Akbar!... God is Most Great!"
Up on the hills the thin reedy voices of the muezzins in the smaller mosques joined in, each voice picking up the call in a fugue of prayer soaring into the golden crest of the afternoon.
In response, the crowds circling the Ka'bah slowed and stopped while new thousands flooded into the courtyard. In unison we bowed, fell to our knees and touched our foreheads to the earth, the familiar words of the prayer filling the courtyard and cloisters with a hoarse whisper that spilled out into the streets of the hushed city.