Hajj (an Arabic Word) is an annual pilgrimage performed by Muslims at least once in their lifetime to Makkah, Saudi Arabia i.e. the holiest place for Muslims. Hajj is regarded as the fifth fundamental of Islam known as the Five Pillars of Islam and a mandatory religious duty. Hajj is performed during the last month of the Islamic calendar known as Dhu-al-Hijjah. The pilgrimage rites of Hajj lasts for about six to seven days. Once a human succeeds in performing Hajj, the pilgrim is called Hajji or Al-Hajj.
Hajj opens the gateway for Muslims to wipe and clean their past sins, shortcomings, and mistakes so that once can easily make a new start. As per the saying by Prophet Muhammad, if a human successfully performs Hajj then, he/she will attain freedom from all the sins, evils, lusts, and immoral crimes and will become a pure soul like an infant.
Story of Hajj:
The history of Hajj highlights the era of 2000 B.C., when Allah tested Prophet Ibrahim and according to the Old Testament, Prophet Ibrahim left his wife, Hagar, and his son, Ishmael in the dunes of Makkah. Being left in the deserted area, Ishmael became dehydrated and thus, his mother, Hagar in search of water and help, ran between two hills Mount Safa, and Mount Marwah, desperately.
As highlighted in the verses of the holy book, the Quran, at last on getting defeated, Hagar prayed to god and as a result, an angel from heaven struck the ground, opening a water spring in front of their eyes. As per the story, Muslims believed that Prophet Ibrahim attained word from Allah for building a sacred place near this spring. This spring is named the Zamzam Well and throughout the Hajj rituals, the pilgrims consume water from this well. So, the father and son altogether worked hard to build a stone building named Sacred Kaaba. Even the rituals performed during Hajj are centralised on these stories related to Allah testing the capabilities of Prophet Ibrahim.
Significance of Hajj:
Religious Obligation:Being the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj is a mandatory pilgrimage that a Muslim needs to perform who meet the specific criteria. Every adult Muslim who is physically fit and financially capable need to perform the rituals of Hajj at least once in their lifetime.
Spiritual Cleansing:Hajj is a spiritual journey that Muslims perform for forgiveness and purification. During Hajj, pilgrims seek forgiveness from Allah and cleanse their souls of sins, immoral activities, and evils. All the rituals performed during this spiritual journey are a symbolization of repentance and a new start.
Unity of the Muslim Ummah:During Hajj, Muslims from different corners of the world with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions arrive together at Makkah, Saudi Arabia. This symbolizes unity and defines that all humans are equal in the eyes of Allah. With such a large gathering in one place highlights the universal nature of Islam.
Submission to the Will of Allah:Hajj is regarded as a physical and spiritual journey where pilgrims emphasize the concept of surrendering to the divine will, and Allah’s authority. During Hajj, pilgrims submit their obedience to the commands of Allah.
Forgiveness and Mercy:Pilgrims believe that by performing Hajj with complete sincerity and devotion, they will get forgiveness for all their sins. So, Hajj opens the gateways for humans to attain Allah’s mercy and compassion. Once they complete the rituals of Hajj, humans hope to return home with a clean slate having a renewed sense of spiritual commitment.
Educational and Cultural Experience:During Hajj, the pilgrims get the opportunity to know the history of Islam, its rituals, and the importance of Prophet Ibrahim’s family while performing its rituals. Hence, Hajj offers an educational and cultural experience that emphasizes the understanding of Islamic teachings.
Eid Al-Adha Celebration:The completion of this spiritual journey is highlighted with the celebration of Eid Al-Adha i.e. the festival of Sacrifice. On this special occasion, pilgrims and Muslims from every corner of the world honour Prophets’ willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of surrendering to Allah. To highlight his sacrifice, Hajj includes the ritual of sacrificing an animal, and the meat is distributed among the needy, family, and loved ones.
Hajj is regarded as the fifth fundamental of Islam known as the Five Pillars of Islam and a mandatory religious duty. In other words, Hajj is an annual pilgrimage performed by Muslims at least once in their lifetime to Makkah, Saudi Arabia i.e. the holiest place for Muslims.
Hajj is performed during the last month of the Islamic calendar known as Dhu al-Hijjah.
The pilgrimage rites or the rituals of Hajj lasts for about six to seven days.
The main purpose of performing the rituals of Hajj is to get forgiveness for all their sins, and Allah’s mercy and compassion.