Hajj

Hajj is the Muslim pilgrimage, which it is compulsory for Muslims to undertake at least once in their lifetime as long as they are healthy and can afford it. In order for it to count, a Muslim’s journey must take place within the month of Dhu’l-Hijja, the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar.

Origins of Hajj

God told the prophet Ibrahim to take his wife Hajira and son Isma’il on a journey to Arabia. He then told Ibrahim to leave Hajira and Isma’il with some food and water.

Having run out of water, Hajira ran up and down two hills, Safa and Marwah, in search of more. Unable to find any water, she prayed to God and water then sprang from the ground. This source of water is called the Zamzam well.

When Ibrahim returned, he was commanded to build the Ka’aba as a shrine dedicated to Allah where worship would take place.

The Ka'aba in the centre of Makkah (Mecca) is the most sacred site in Islam

Over time, people began to worship idols at the Ka’aba instead of the one God, Allah. However, Muhammad restored the Ka’aba to its original purpose when he converted Makkah to Islam.

Key events of Hajj

Infographic showing the locations and key events and activities of Hajj.
  1. On the journey, Muslims change their clothes for two white cloths and enter the state of Ihram. This shows equality as everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or socio-economic status, is dressed in a similar way.
  2. The pilgrims arrive at the Great Mosque, a spiritual place for Muslims as it is viewed by many as Allah’s house. Here they circle the Ka’aba seven times, which is called Tawaf.
  3. A drink is taken from the Zamzam well in remembrance of Hajira’s search for water. This shows Muslims’ dependence on Allah.
  4. The pilgrims visit the hills of Safa and Marwah, and run between the two seven times to replicate the actions of Hajira. She was determined, as all Muslims must be, and they must never give up.
  5. Muslims stop at Mount Arafat, the place where Muhammad gave his final sermon, and they pray while hoping to be forgiven for their sins. This is where the Day of Judgement will take place.
  6. Muslims spend the night at Muzdalifa, a valley between Arafat and Mina. At Muzdalifa they collect pebbles, which are required for the following day.
  7. They then travel to Mina, where they stone the Devil. They throw pebbles at three stone pillars constructed to represent the Devil. Ibrahim is said to have done this. It is important that Muslims show that they reject the Devil.
  8. Id-ul-Adha is the Feast of Sacrifice, which is celebrated by all Muslims, not just those completing Hajj.

Importance of Hajj

Those completing the Hajj are known as Hajji. Everyone taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage is treated as an equal and there is a great sense of unity. The pilgrimage shows self-discipline and fulfils a religious duty, bringing Muslims closer to God.

Some hadith agree that sins are cleansed by the journey: He will return as if he were born anew (Sahih al-Bukhari 26:596).

Question

What is the importance of Hajj?

It fulfils a religious duty.