Quran Tutors Online

Every Muslim must make the Hajj or journey to Mecca at least once in their lifetime, if possible. It is the most spiritual experience a Muslim can have, with rituals performed in the most sacred locations in the Islamic world. Mecca is the place where the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born. Islam’s holiest site is the sanctuary, along with the beautiful Ka’ba. It is, therefore, the center of Islam and a highly spiritual place for Muslims all over the world.

What is Hajj?

Hajj, in Islam, is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that every adult Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj is the fifth of the Five Pillars of Islam, fundamental Muslim practices and institutions. The pilgrimage ritual begins on the 7th of Dh al-ijjah (the final month of the Islamic year) and ends on the 12th.

All Muslims who are physically and financially capable of making the pilgrimage must perform the hajj, but only if their absence will not cause hardship to their family. A person may perform the hajj by proxy, appointing a relative or friend to “stand in” for them on the pilgrimage.

Explaining Hajj Rituals 

Hajj consists of several rituals and actions that pilgrims must perform in Makkah and visits to significant locations such as Madina, Mina, Arafah, and Muzdalifah.

The journey begins with entering a state of consecration known as Ihram. Pilgrims must adhere to specific restrictions during this state, such as wearing special garments, refraining from particular actions such as clipping nails, using perfumes, engaging in marital relations, and more.

During Hajj, the days of Mina and Arafah are critical. On the eighth of Dhul-Hajj, pilgrims spend a day in Mina before proceeding to Arafah. They travel from Arafah to Muzdalifah for the night before returning to Mina.

Tawaf and Sacrifice

Pilgrims perform the symbolic sacrifice of an animal for Allah on the tenth of Dhul-Hajj. They then shave or trim their hair and throw seven pebbles at the designated Mina station. They then travel to Makkah to perform Tawaf, consisting of seven Kaaba circumambulations, followed by a walk between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah.

And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Abraham the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate. They may see benefits for themselves and mention Allah’s name on known days because of what He has provided for them in the form of [sacrificial] animals, so eat them and feed the poor and needy. Then let them end their disorder, fulfill their vows, and perform Tawaf around the ancient House.” Allah says in the Quran.  (22:26-28)

Also, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated,

A person who circumambulates this House (the Kaaba) seven times and performs the two Rak’at Salat (of Tawaf) in the best form possible will have his sins forgiven” [Us-Sunnah Fiqh]

After these rituals, pilgrims remove the Ihram, indicating their Hajj is complete and the associated restrictions are lifted. 

Following in the Footsteps of Our Beloved Prophets

Hajj not only includes rituals but also connects pilgrims to the past and future profoundly by adhering to the teachings and practices of our beloved prophets, such as Abraham, Ishmael, and Muhammad (peace be upon them).

During Hajj, for example, the movement between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah is a symbolic reenactment of Hajar’s search for water for her baby Ismail. It reminds us of the discovery of the blessed Zamzam well in the middle of the desert, which sprang forth under the feet of baby Ismail.

Pilgrims circle the Kaaba to honor Muhammad (peace be upon him), built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ismail at Allah’s command. Prophet Abraham was also tasked with publicizing the pilgrimage to Makkah for future generations.

And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you,” Allah says in the Quran. (22:27).

During Hajj, Muslims are deeply connected to their past by honoring the Prophets’ actions. The symbolic act of throwing pebbles at the pillars in Mina represents Satan’s rejection and victory over evil.

Hajj and the Future

Hajj is a journey into the past and a reset of consciousness and mindset, purifying pilgrims from their sins and restoring them to their original state, just as they were created. Hajj instills essential values such as unity, equality, universality, unity of purpose, togetherness, selflessness, humility, and sharing, which help to build a stronger Muslim community.

Wrap-Up

Hajj is extremely important in Islam, as it is a pillar of our faith and an annual gathering of millions of Muslims worldwide. We can foster greater understanding and respect among people of different backgrounds by understanding and appreciating Hajj’s rituals and historical connections. Hajj teaches valuable lessons and promotes Muslim unity, resulting in a stronger and more compassionate global community.