What does Hajj mean in practice?

Laylat al - Qadr celebrated in Makkah (Mecca)
Hajj, Makkah (Mecca)

Nature and importance

Duty – the Hajj is the fifth of the Five Pillars of Islam and is an obligation for all Muslims, at least once in their lives, if they have the health and wealth. Once they have completed the Hajj, a Muslim man may call himself a Hajji and a woman can call herself a Hajjah.

Following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad - in the Qur'an the Prophet Muhammad is called the Seal of the Prophets, meaning he is the last and greatest of God's prophets. Even though Muhammad is not believed to be divine, he is a role model for all Muslims. Therefore, to go on pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) and follow in his footsteps is very important to Muslims.

Five Pillars of Islam - Hajj is the fifth of the Five Pillars of Islam. As such it reflects a Muslim's devotion, loyalty and belief and therefore helps him or her to grow spiritually.

Key belief – the pilgrimage to Makkah reminds Muslims of their key belief in the equality of all humankind before Allah, because each person takes part on exactly the same basis.

Spirituality - the Hajj prompts Muslims to reflect and think on their own lives. Modern lifestyles are hectic, but the Hajj gives Muslims the opportunity to switch off from work and trivial issues. It also allows Muslims to reconnect with what is really important and focus on spiritual matters.

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