What Is The Perform Hajj Pilgrimage ?
The Perform hajj Pilgrimage consists of a five-day excursion that takes place in Mecca and at three sites on its outskirts – Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah.
It differs from the umrah, a non-mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca that can be taken at any point in the year.
According to Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad carried out the first pilgrimage to Mecca in AD 628, with 1,400 followers by his side. On this occasion, known as the Farewell Pilgrimage in Islam, the pilgrims followed in the footsteps of the Prophet Abraham AS.
According to Islam, Abraham’s AS faith was also tested when he was asked to leave his wife, Hajra AS, and their young son, Ishmael AS, in a barren desert between two hills – Safa and Marwah – in Mecca. Hajra AS ran between the hills seven times to search for water for her son. Eventually, Ishmael AS struck the ground, causing a well of flowing water to spring through.
When Abraham AS came back for his family, he was amazed that a source of water, now known as the sacred Well of Zamzam, had appeared in the heart of the desert.
Abraham AS and Ishmael AS eventually built the Kaaba, the black cube-shaped structure in Mecca, as a place to worship God, just 20 metres (66 feet) from the sacred well.
There are five pillars of Islam, namely Shahadah, Salat, Sawm, Zakat and Hajj. However, the term pillar is more of an analogy used to describe the five components on which the very core of the Islamic faith is based on. These are the five key elements that define a person as a Muslim; five tasks that (Allah SWT) has made compulsory on all able Muslims.
Perform Hajj pilgrimage includes the following:
- Wearing the Ehram – the standard clothing for pilgrims upon arriving in Mecca
- Performing Tawaf and Sa’ee in Masjid Al-Haram
- Staying and praying in Mina
- Spending the night at Mount Arafat in prayer
- Staying in Muzdalifah
- Revisiting Mina and stoning the Jamaraat (3 three devils)
- Performing Eid-ul-Adha prayers
- Performing Qurbani / Udhiya, the Sunna of Ibrahim
- Shaving his head. Women simply clip a piece of their hair.
- Performing Tawaf-ul-wida
What are the rituals of the hajj?
Muslims enter Mecca in ihram, a state of spiritual purity in which people practise simplicity and humility, giving up their materialistic desires.
To this end, men’s garments often consist of two un-hemmed sheets, seamless in order to avoid displays of elaborate embroidery. Women wear loose-fitting clothes, While many Muslim women choose to cover their faces outside ihram. This practice is forbidden during the spiritual state. Neither men nor women can wear make-up, cologne or perfume during this time, and killing animals, getting into fights and having sex is also forbidden.
The hajj begins in what is now the sanctuary of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Pilgrims first perform a tawaf – they circle the Kaaba in an anti-clockwise direction seven times and then walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa (just like Hajra AS did) seven times.
On the second day, the pilgrims head to Arafat, a large field on the outskirts of Mecca, to attend the hajj sermon. which is delivered in honour of the sermon given by the Prophet Muhammad at Arafat during his hajj. After sunset, Muslims move on to Muzdalifah. where they spend the night praying and resting and collect dozens of pebbles for the next day’s rituals.
The Third days of the hajj
On the third day, pilgrims return to Mina and throw seven stones at three pillars at the site. This day coincides with the day Abraham AS offered to sacrifice his son to God. The three pillars symbolise the three times that the devil tried to dissuade Abraham from the sacrifice. And the throwing of pebbles represents the stoning of the devil, as Abraham used seven stones to destroy him. Muslims around the world also celebrate Eid al-Adha on this day.
After Eid, perform hajj pilgrims can either return to Mina or stay elsewhere in Mecca. But they must pelt the pillars once each day for the next two or three days, in honour of the three times that Abraham was tempted by the devil and warded him off with seven stones.
During the final days of the hajj, pilgrims head back to Mecca to perform a final tawaf around the Kaaba and seven rounds between the hills of Safa and Marwa.