What is the purpose of the HajjThe Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform it once in their lifetime. The Hajj is seen as a chance to wipe clean past sins and start fresh. Many seek to deepen their faith on the Hajj, with women taking on the Islamic hair covering known as "hijab" upon returning from the pilgrimage. Despite the physical challenges of the hajj, many people rely on canes or crutches and insist on walking the routes. Those who cannot afford the Hajj are sometimes financed by charities or community leaders. Others save their entire lives to make the journey. A few even walk thousands of miles by foot to Saudi Arabia, taking months to arrive.
- According to Sahih Bukhari (one of the six main hadith writings of Sunni Islam), the Prophet Muhammad once said that those who finish the Hajj without committing any obscenity or transgression will have their sins completely wiped away.
- It is believed that to teach Muslims to remain humble and unified, God mandated the Hajj. During it, everyone wears the same clothes, prays together, and goes around the Ka'bah together.
- All male pilgrims wear the ihram, a garment that is made of two pieces of unstitched clothing. They are forbidden from wearing anything that has stitches in it, clothes that cover their ankles, or anything that cover their heads. All female pilgrims are forbidden from wearing anything to cover their faces or hands.
- Muslims on the Hajj are also forbidden from having sexual intercourse, proposing marriage, cutting their hair or nails, and killing animals.
- According to the Saudi Arabian Embassy, the Hajj is the largest gathering of human beings on the Earth
Hajj explained“Prophet Ibrahim preached the oneness of God, a message that was later revived and renewed by the last of all Prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him),” Sayed told Al Arabiya News. “Ibrahim, along with his son Ismail built the Kaaba in the holy city of Makkah. And accordingly, this pillar reflects the notion of complete submission to Allah and the Abrahamic faith.” For many pilgrims, hajj is perceived to be a journey of the body and the soul at the same time. The first day of hajj is 8 Zil Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. The holy journey requires the pilgrim to perform ten rituals before and during hajj. Here are the basic steps you may want to know about hajj:
State of IhramThis is considered the first step for any pilgrim wishing to perform hajj. To enter the state of Ihram, a pilgrim has to recite an intention to perform hajj called the Talabiya. This is when a pilgrim prepares one’s soul, mind and body for journey to the Almighty God. Entering the stage begins from the Miqat, or a place that is outside the pilgrimage area. Men and women going on hajj adhere to a specific dress code which is aimed at showing modesty and shedding all signs of wealth. Men don unstitched white garments, while women wear normal stitched clothes and a headscarf. Women are forbidden however from wearing the burqa or niqab. In fact, the word Ihram originates from the Arabic term Tahreem, which means prohibited. Because the state is believed to have a special essence of spiritual purity, there are certain acts that are not allowed for pilgrims. Among them are using perfumes, cutting hair or nails, and slaughtering animals.
MakkahThe Saudi Arabian city is considered Islam’s holiest site, as it holds al-Masjid al-Haram or the Grand Mosque that surrounds the Kaaba, a cuboid shaped building which Muslims believe has been put up together by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail almost 4, 000 years ago. Muslims call the Kaaba “the house of God” and are expected to face the direction of Makkah when praying in any part of the world.
SaeyTo traverse the distance between the hills of Safa and Marwah for seven times, this is what is called Sa’ey. The term in Arabic means to walk or move quickly. After Tawaf, pilgrims perform Sa’ey, in what commemorates the journey by Prophet Ibrahim’s wife to find water for her infant prophet Ismail, after they were left in the desert of Makkah at God’s command. The hills are now enclosed by the Grand Mosque.
Departure to Mina
MuzdalifahAfter descending from Arafat, pilgrims arrive to the open land of Muzdalifah, southeast of Mina. People gather in makeshift tents and are required to perform Maghrib and Isha prayers. It is also considered the best place to collect pebbles for Ramy al-Jamarat
Ramy al-JamaratThe symbolic stoning of the devil, where pilgrims fling pebbles, called jamarat, at three walls, in the city of Mina. The stoning marks the third day of hajj or Eid al-Adha.
Facilities for HajjThe expenditure towards Haj is borne by the pilgrims themselves. No financial assistance is given directly to Haj pilgrims. However, Ministry of Civil Aviation provides subsidy for air travel to pilgrims going for Haj through the Haj Committee of India. Ministry of External Affairs coordinates arrangements for Haj pilgrimage in consultation with the Haj Committee of India and the Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah. Every year, MEA sends deputationists (Coordinators, Assistant Haj Officers, Haj Assistants, Doctors and paramedical staff) for rendering assistance to the Haj pilgrims. Every year, CGI, Jeddah arranges for temporary tents in Mina, sets up branch Haj Offices and dispensaries in Makkah and Madinah, provides medicines, ambulances, other local transport etc. for the Haj pilgrims. Ministry of Civil Aviation supervises the Air charter operations during Haj period and deploys officials in Saudi Arabia to assist in embarkation and disembarkation of pilgrims. To provide better facilities and amenities for Haj pilgrims, several initiatives have been undertaken. These include: improvement of amenities for Haj pilgrims in buildings in Makkah and Madinah; strengthening of medical services for Haj pilgrims, streamlining of air travel arrangements for Hajis by ensuring effective management of timely arrival and departure of flights, online submission of Haj application form to Haj Committee of India and providing e-payment option to pilgrims, provision of local sim cards; provision of travel by metro train in Mashaer region for pilgrims going through HCOI ; 24 X 7 helpline, toll free number and use of Whatsapp and SMS for providing timely information; use of Mobile phone Application- “Indian Hajis Accommodation Locator” with information for Indian pilgrims; speedy and effective online complaint management system; strengthening of transport arrangements for Hajis accommodated in Azizia. In terms of Haj Policy 2013-17 framed by the Government in accordance with the judgment of Supreme Court dated 16.04.2013, an individual can perform Haj through Haj Committee of India (HCoI) only “once in a life time”. However, a Repeater pilgrim is eligible as a Mehram of a female pilgrim or companion of age 70+ pilgrim, if no other Mehram/ Companion (who has not performed Haj through HCoI) is available and if he/she pays full airfare as decided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Hajj-E-AkbarThe term used in the Holy Quran is “al-hajj-al-Akbar”. But it does not mean a Hajj performed on Friday, as generally alleged by ignorant people. The Holy Quran has used this term for the Hajj performed by the Muslims under the supervision of Sayyidna Abu Bakr Siddiq (R.A.) in the year 9 A.H.i.e. one year earlier to the last Hajj of the Holy Prophet (Sallaho Alaihai Wasallam), and this Hajj (the Hajj of 9 A.H.) was not performed on Friday. Still, the Holy Quran has called it “al-Hajj-al- Akbar”. It is clear from this that this term has no reference to Friday. The Correct meaning of the term, as explained by a large number of the commentators of the Holy Quran is that the Umrah, which can be performed at any time throughout the year, was generally called “al-hajj-Asghar” (the minor Hajj). In order to distinguish hajj from Umrah the former was named “al-Hajj-al-Akbar” (the greater hajj). Therefore, each and every hajj is al-hajj-al-akbar, no matter whether it is performed on Friday or on any other day. The word “Akbar” (greater) is used only to distinguish it from Umrah which is a minor Hajj.
Difference between Hajj and Hajj-e-AkbarIt is famous among people that a hajj occurring on Friday is Hajj-e-Akbar, but it is not proved from any Fiqh books and mujtahid imams. However, the Fiqh and Hadith books state that hajj is hajj-e-akbar (big hajj) while umrah is hajj-e-asghar (small hajj). Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) knows Best
Incidents during the HajjThere have been incidents during the Hajj', the Muslim pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, that have caused the loss of a life. Every follower of Islam is required to visit Mecca during the Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime, if able to do so; the pilgrimage is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During the month of the Hajj, Mecca must cope with as many as three million pilgrims. Plane travel makes Mecca and the Hajj more accessible to pilgrims from all over the world. As a consequence, the Hajj has become increasingly crowded. City officials are required to control large crowds and provide food, shelter, sanitation, and emergency services for millions. However, it has not always been possible to prevent incidents.
Crushes and failures of crowd controlSometimes the dense, surging troupes, trekking from one station of the pilgrimage to the next, cause a stampede, or more precisely, a progressive troupe collapse. At densities above 6 or 7 persons per square meter, individuals cannot move, groups are swept along in waves, individuals jostle to find breath and to avoid falling and being trampled, and hundreds of deaths can occur as a result. The stoning of the devil (ramī aj-jamarāt) ceremony is particularly crowded and dangerous. Pilgrims ritualistically throw pebbles at three walls (formerly pillars) which represent the three places where the devil tempted Abraham. It is one of a series of ritual acts that must be performed in the Hajj.
Birth of the Prophet Ismail A.S. and the Migration to MeccaProphet Ibrahim (PBUH) prayed for a son in all sublimity and his prayer was granted. Hagar gave birth to a baby boy Isma'il (AS). Soon after, The Almighty commanded the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) to migrate to the Holy Land of Ka'bah in Makkah. In accordance with the Divine Commandment, the family set out on a long and troublesome journey. Towards the end of the journey the family set up their tents in a hilly area without any trees or water source around. The Prophet lsma'il (PBUH) was a few months old. He began crying because of thirst. His mother ran desperately in quest of water between the two hillocks called Safa and Marwa but found no water. When she returned back to the thirsty infant she was surprised to see the spring of Zam Zam emerged beneath the foot of the Prophet Isma'il (PBUH). She heaved a sigh of relief and quenched the thirst of her baby with the water. People came from far and wide to observe the miracle and gradually this locality named Mecca became the birth place of Islam.
Who performed first Hajj Baitullah
- Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail (A.S)
- Hazrat Adam and Hazrat Hawa
- Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Hajira
- None of them