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Why should I as a Protestant care about the Hajj?
Pilgrimages are one of the oldest and most profound spiritual exercises there are. The once-in-a-lifetime journey to Mecca is a beautiful symbol of people putting a lot of effort into their faith life. Jihad means making effort for God. As Protestants we talk about free grace all the time and that is true. But the huge amounts of time, money and effort every able-bodied Muslim is supposed to invest in this journey is a powerful expression of dedication. Like our Muslim brothers and sisters we are called to make an effort for our spiritual well-being.

There is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion

9. If we accept that the Vedic people had some historic affinity with the Indus Valley Civilization which some believe to be true, it lends credence to the possibility that Indus people might have practiced some rudimentary or even elaborate forms of sacrificial ceremonies to propitiate their gods. Since they had the knowledge of brick making and geometric designs, they might have used it to build sacrificial altars. However, so far no sacrificial altars or pits were found in the excavations at the Indus Valley sites.

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Hinduism richly derived its current knowledge not only from major sectarian traditions of India such as Brahmanism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism but also from many rural and tribal traditions that were prevalent in various parts of the Indian subcontinent since the earliest times. We do not know which beliefs and practices or the religious traditions of the Indus Valley Civilization found their way into present day Hinduism. Some historians question whether the religion of the Indus Valley people can be categorized at all as the earliest known aspect of Hinduism. They would prefer to begin with Vedism or Shaivism.

The Virtual Point of Freedom Northwestern University Press

In doing so, they miss an important and unmistakable point regarding the very identity and definition of Hinduism and how it emerged as a major world religion. The truth is by historic as well as legal definition Hinduism represents all the native faiths that originated in India, except Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Going by this definition, whatever faith or religion the Indus people practiced automatically falls under purview of Hinduism, and thereby becomes the earliest known, historic aspect or tradition of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma.

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Currently, people who speak Dravidian languages, namely Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam are located in south India. It is believed that these languages originated independent of Sanskrit, which is believed to be the offshoot of the same stock of languages that gave birth to Greek, Latin, German, French, Russian, English and other Indo-European languages. It is believed that at some time the Dravidians lived on the northern fringes of the Indian subcontinent, before they moved deeper into the southern and the eastern territories for reasons unknown. It is interesting to note that the generic name for a town or a city or a near by village in some Dravidian languages such as Telugu and Tamil is "ur" or "uru", which sounds similar to the name "Ur," the first known urban settlement in human history, which was found in Mesopotamia.

Religion theories essay, Research paper Service

According to some historians the Indus people were probably Dravidians, who lived in ancient times in parts of north western India, Afghanistan, parts of the Mediterranean, Central Asia and Europe. According to another view, the Indus people were probably Aryans, whose civilization was a precursor to the Vedic civilization that was established in India by a subsequent wave of Vedic Aryans. According to some they were Sumerians. Some historians also suggested that the people of Indus valley probably shared an affinity with the ancient Egyptians and other African cultures. According to Professor Spyridon Marinatos, the Indus civilization was probably similar to that of ancient Greece. Both worshipped Mother Goddess and the Bull played an important role in their religious lives. Based on the skeletal studies, some have reached the conclusion that the Indus people represented a mixture of different racial groups ranging from the Mediterranean type to the Australoid and the Mongoloid, while a majority of them were similar in features to the Dravidians of southern India. The finding of some Indus type seals at other sites outside the Indian subcontinent, such as Ur, Kish, Tell Asmar, Umma, Lagash, Susa etc., suggest that the Indus people maintained contact with many cultures in Western Asia, including the people of Israel and probably there was an exchange of merchandise, ideas, beliefs and also people.