The Hajj (pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque in Makkah, Saudia Arabia) is the fifth pillar of Islam and must be performed at least once in the lifetimes of all Muslims– provided that they have the necessary resources. Muslims travel to Makkah to make a pilgrimage during the month of Dhul-Hijjah (the last month of the Islamic calendar).
We are enmeshed in the worldly pleasures throughout the entirety of our lives, pursuing material prosperity and coping with all of life’s ups and downs. While our primary motivation for performing the Hajj is to obey Allah’s decree, we also benefit from taking a break from our regular routines.
Our belief in Allah is strengthened and we are removed from the everyday hustle when we spend the money and time necessary to travel, sometimes across the entire globe.
Performing Hajj cleanses the soul and enables us to focus on the real meaning of life i.e. attaining the pleasure of Allah. Needless to say, pilgrimage to the sacred mosque in Makkah purifies the soul and heart.
A Guide to Performing Hajj
In particular, the Hajj pilgrimage captures the legacy of the prophet Ibrahim (AS) who travelled to Makkah, settled his family there, and constructed the most holy building, the Kaaba.
Hajj is performed in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, known as Dhul-Hijjah, between the 8th and 13th day of the month– for 5 days.Thousands and millions of Muslims get together every year to perform Hajj which emulates Muhammad’s actions from his lifetime, 1,377 years ago.
Rituals of Hajj
For your knowledge and understanding, Agency21 International will be highlighting rituals to perform Hajj.
The most common aspect we have of Muslims performing Hajj is pilgrims doing tawaf i.e. circling the Kaaba. Standing in the vicinity of the Kaaba, which is thought to be the first building ever created exclusively for the worship of Allah, has profound spiritual importance.
It is pertinent to state that Allah has made the Ka’ba a holy site and given it significance by making it the direction that every Muslim should face when praying. It is also important to understand that Muslims do not worship the Kaaba itself. Kaaba is the direction they must be praying.
During Hajj, Muslims encircle the Kaaba seven times.
Sa’i is the ritual of running between Safa and Marwa hills, honouring Hajar (Ibrahim’s wife) and her baby, Isma’il. We recall how she hurriedly ran between the two mountains in the hope of finding someone or something that would feed her infant in the desolate desert.
This event is a lesson for everyone to put their trust in Allah even during the most difficult times where reaching a solution seems impossible.
One of the most significant days in the Islamic calendar is the Day of Arafat. The final sermon of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was delivered on Mount Mercy in Arafat.
Pilgrims arrive here from Mina after travelling 14.4 kilometres, where they spend the day in quiet prayer. The major significance of this day enables Muslims around the world to fast on this day.
The pilgrims journey to the mountain known as Arafah on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah. During Hajj, they stay there until dusk and pray to Allah. What is most unique about this day is that it is the only day when all pilgrims are present at the same time and location with the same intent.
During the Hajj, pilgrims must hit the three pillars known as “jamarat” with stones– 7 pebbles to be exact.
This execution serves as a reminder of the three times the devil tempted Ibrahim to forgo carrying out Allah’s will, and how each time Ibrahim defeated the temptation.
Stoning the three pillars honours Ibrahim’s effort even though it is important to state that Muslims are not stoning the actual shaytan. This event serves an example of keeping our faith strong even if the worldly pleasures seem to be more tempting.
On the day of Eid al-Adha, a sacrifice known as Udhiya is made in remembrance of the time when Ibrahim offered to sacrifice his son in order to carry out Allah’s plan, but was instead permitted to offer up a ram as a token of his commitment and stance.
The Lesson We Learn From These Events
These events in the history of Islam serve as a reminder for us modern-day Muslims to not fret over worldly problems as Allah can solve any problem, even it is seems to impossible. We must obey Allah in every step of life and help the needy in every way we can.
We must also make an effort to understand our religion more and more. Every ritual and every act in Islam has a meaning behind it, which is beneficial for our spiritual growth.