Pilgrimage: Haj

The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God. It is also a time of forgiveness and purification. During the Hajj, Muslims perform a series of rituals, including standing at the Kaaba, walking and running between the hills of Safa and Marwa, standing at the plain of Arafat, and the symbolic stoning of the devil.

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is required of all adult Muslims who are financially and physically capable of undertaking the journey. The Hajj takes place from the 8th to the 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.

And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence).

Holy Qur’aan, 3:97

The Hajj begins with the wearing of the ihram, which is a white seamless garment that is worn by the pilgrim. This signifies the equality of all Muslims, as everyone is dressed the same. The pilgrim then makes an intention, known as the niyyah, to perform the Hajj.

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The first ritual of the Hajj is standing at the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam. The Kaaba is a cube-shaped building located in the centre of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. It is believed to have been built by the prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma’il as a house of worship for God. The Kaaba is covered in a black silk and gold curtain known as the kiswah.

After standing at the Kaaba, the pilgrim performs the Tawaf, which is seven circuits of the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction. This is followed by the Sa’i, which is the walking and running between the hills of Safa and Marwa. This is done to commemorate the search for water by Hagar, the wife of Ibrahim, and her son Isma’il.

The next ritual of the Hajj is standing on the plain of Arafat. This is the most important day of the Hajj, and it is on this day that the pilgrim makes sincere repentance and seeks forgiveness from God. Standing at the plain of Arafat is followed by spending the night in the plain of Muzdalifah.

The final ritual of the Hajj is the symbolic stoning of the devil. This is done at the Jamarat Bridge, which is located in the city of Mina. The pilgrim throws pebbles at three pillars, which represent the devil. This is done to symbolically reject Satan and his temptations.

After the stoning of the devil, the pilgrim shaves his head or cuts a small amount of hair, which signifies the completion of the Hajj. The pilgrim then makes the Tawaf al-Ifada, which is the final Tawaf around the Kaaba.

The Hajj is a unique and profound experience for Muslims, and it is a time of spiritual renewal and growth. It is a time to come closer to God and to seek forgiveness and purification. It is also a time to remember the sacrifices of the prophets and to come together with other Muslims from around the world in solidarity and brotherhood.

It is important to note that the Hajj is also a time of great crowds and can be dangerous, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Saudi Arabian government has implemented measures to ensure the safety of the pilgrims. The number of people who can perform the Hajj each year is limited, and all pilgrims must have a negative COVID-19 test before embarking on the journey. Additionally, the government has set up quarantine centres for those who may become sick