Holy Kaaba makes Twitter debut amid Hajj and Eid festivitieshttps://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-globally/holy-kaaba-joins-twitter-4826595/

Holy Kaaba makes Twitter debut amid Hajj and Eid festivities

This Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world was greeted Eid Mubarak by the Kaaba itself! The verified profile has its own emoji in shape of the Kaaba, and all tweets are accompanied with the hashtag #Kaaba. The handle started its journey on the platform introducing itself as a symbol of peace in Islam.

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Muslim pilgrims circumambulate around the Kaaba, the holy cubic building at the Grand Mosque during Hajj in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Source: AP)

As Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Adha and many undertake the journey to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, the holiest site in Islam joined Twitter. Yes, the ‘Kaaba’, or the holy Ka’bah, also known as al-ka’bah al-musharrafah, started life in Twitterverse on August 29.  The profile has its own emoji in the shape of the Kaaba, and all tweets are accompanied #Kaaba. It commenced its journey on the platform, introducing itself as a symbol of peace in Islam.

This made wishing tweeple Eid Mubarak on Eid al-Adha this year all the more special, as Muslims around the world were greeted by the Kaaba itself!

Though the Twitter account was opened in March 2017, it was not used before August. Its followers nearly doubled as the holy site started imparting spiritual messages by the Prophet, teachings in Quran and importance of Hajj. With more than 32,000 followers on the micro-blogging site, it is a verified account, but it’s not known who exactly is operating the handle. It could be one person or a team.

This year, more than two million Muslims around the globe have flocked to Mount Arafat in an effort to erase past sins, beg Allah for forgiveness and guidance in the peak time of the Hajj, and even start their lives afresh. At a time when so much communication is held online, the significance of this Islamic holy site is not lost.

As part of the Hajj ritual, pilgrims are required to walk around the Kaaba seven times, a ritual known as the “tawaf”. So, for those who couldn’t make it to the holy reliquary, they did a Live Periscope video showing officials changing the “kiswa” – the black and gold drape over the Kaaba.

With tweets mostly in Arabic, the Twitter page is filled with beautiful glimpses from the holy site of people praying in modest white clothing, imparting significant messages. It even has a few messages in English sharing message of Allah and the Prophet.

Using mobile phones on Hajj is usually frowned upon as during the time, followers of the faith are advised to shun all earthly pleasures and lead a humble life. Hence, it is not clear whether the @HolyKaaba’s digital team are operating from within the premises or are working from elsewhere in Mecca.

“The account doesn’t appear to be linked to any of the social media accounts launched by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information on Hajj this year,” BBC Arabic social media expert Faisal Irshaid commented on the sudden activeness of the Kaaba Twitter account. “It is rather surprising that the account remains unknown among many. Usually, in the Arab World and elsewhere, accounts of landmarks, celebrities or popular topics quickly find their way into people’s newsfeed,” he told BBC.

But it’s not the first building to be active on social media. From Taj Mahal to Eiffel Tower, many historical and tourist sites now have their official handles on Twitter and other social media; however, this is the first time a religious site of this stature that has joined Twitter and has a verified account.