Every year millions of Muslims make their way towards Makkah, to perform Hajj. The pilgrimage is made up of actions that were perfomed by the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and these actions symbolize the trials of Prophet Abraham. This Pilgrimage occurs in the last month of the Hijri calendar known as ‘Dhul Hijjah’
This year, according to the Gregorian Calendar, Dhul Hijjah will begin on the 13th of August, 2018. And Eid-ul-Adha (The 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, and the day of the sacrifice) will be on the 22nd of August.
Islam is comprised of five basic pillars, and Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam, but it is only a requirement for those who are able to afford it and are physically strong enough to complete the pilgrimage.
Muslims perform Hajj with the aim to cleanse their souls and revive their relationship with Allah. It is meant to strengthen the bond among Muslims, as pilgrims come from all across the globe to perfom Hajj.
A significant aspect of Hajj is that it brings forth humilty and removes materialism, which is why the pilgrims dress in simple clothes for the duration of the pilgrimage. Men wrap themselves in two pieces of cloth, while women wear simple sewn clothes to cover up. These clothing are called ‘Ihram’, which also means the sacred state (pure state).
The steps of the Pilgrimage:
- Pilgrims enter into the state of Ihram; a sacred state that includes controlling ones basic instincts, such as anger, and maintaining a state of purity.
- Performs Umrah; Walk seven times around the Ka’bah, pray two raka’as in the direction of the Ka’bah, and run seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah.
- Heads to Mina; an area outside of Makkah, where they stay in tents and spend the days leading up to Arafah in prayer and worship.
- Spend the day at Arafah; The pilgrims head there and spend their time in prayer and worship till sunset.
- Spend the night at Muzdalifah; On their way back to Mina, pilgrims stop at a place called Muzdalifah, they pray the evening prayers and collect pebbles for another ritual.
- Celebrate Eid-ul-Adha; sacrifice a lamb or goat. pilgrims can pay to have the sacrifice done or go and do it in a specific area outside of Makkah. Those who are unable to go for Hajj, also take part in this ritual, and honor the Prophet Abraham by performing sacrifices whereever they are.
- Throw pebbles at the three pillars: this action signifies another trial that the Prophet Abraham endured. Muslims believe that on his way to the sacrifice, Satan tried to stop Prophet Abraham from the act, so he threw stones at the devil to fend him off.
- Make Tawaf at Makkah; end the hajj pilgrimage by circling around the Ka’bah seven times while suplicating and remembering Allah.