Last time I was here in Makkah, in December 2014, it wasn't at all unusual to see cameras being wielded by almost everybody pretty much everywhere. This time around I've hardly seen a single one, such that when I use my own I feel distinctly out of place. The lack of cameras, by the way, isn't due to any particular fatwa by the authorities - plenty of folks are happily snapping away in every conceivable place. Selfies with the Kaaba in the background are the order of the day. I get the feeling that the majority of people's hajjs are being scrupulously documented on Facebook. I know that our own is on the Azza Travel page. But cameras seem to have been replaced by the ubiquitous smart phone.
Is this a bad thing? I'm certain the general behaviour of pilgrims has altered significantly over the last two decades particularly, but I wouldn't rush to condemn this. The Hajj as an event in history has, no doubt, changed dramatically in terms of its surface over the centuries. But much of what I see suggests that in its fundamentals it transcends time - though not place, of course.