Saturday 14 April 2018

Hajj - Pilgrimage to Makkah

The last pillar of Islam is Hajj, the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah. Hajj is obligatory once in lifetime for all able bodied men and women who can financially afford to undertake the journey to Makkah and bear expenses for their stay during the Hajj rituals.

Hajj is performed between 8th to 13th of Zil Hajj, the last month of Islamic calendar. Hajj is performed by men by just wearing two plain sheets of white clothes - hence it removes away any barriers between a billionaire and an ordinary many. Thus this removes away any distinction of class, superiority of clan and culture as everyone stand equal in the house of Allah.

Every year around two million Muslims perform the Hajj ritual in Makkah. The rituals of Hajj, as shown by the prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him), in his only performed Hajj after capture of the city of Makkah, include taking seven rounds around the House of Allah or the Khane-e-Ka'aba, seven rounds between the two hillocks of Safa and Marwa, as did Hajra (Hager, wife of Abraham) in search of water for his young son Ismail. Thereafter the pilgrims gather at the place called Arafat and seek forgiveness of Allah. Arafat is thought to be the plaice when all mankind will be assembled on the Day of Judgment. Arafat rituals end at sunset and pilgrims then move to a place called Muzdalifah for combined prayers of Maghrib (evening prayer) and Isha (late night prayer).

The last ritual of the Hajj is the sacrifice of a goat, a tradition followed since the prophet Ibraheem (Abraham, may peace be upon him). I will dwell on the details of this ritual separately. The end of Hajj is marked by the celebration of Eid Al Azha, just like Eid Al Fitr is celebrated after the month of Ramadan.

Please refer to our page: Dhu al-Hijja (ذُو ٱلْحِجَّة): The month of Pilgrimage - The Hajj to know more about Dhu al-Hijja and Hajj.

Photo: Pixabay
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