The Hajj pilgrimage located in Mecca Saudi Arabia is a vital concept of the Islamic faith, “the Hajj consists of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of Islamic faith and to commemorate the trials of prophet Abraham and his family” this concept is stated in the Council on Islamic Education. The pillar is obligatory for every Muslim and is a duty that it must be visited at least once in one’s life provided that one is physically and financially able to do so.
Hajj is a ritual that enables “Muslims from all around the world, of different colours, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together” as quoted in The Council on Islamic Education.
Mecca is a very holy place to all Muslims. It is so holy that only those who follow the Islamic faith (Muslims) are only allowed to enter.
The pilgrimage is the religious high point of a Muslim’s life and an event that is key to Muslims. Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage can be undertaken any time during the year, whereas Hajj is only performed during a five day period and occurs in the month of Dhul Hijjah which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Hajj is an expression of one devoting themselves to one God. Stated in The Council on Islamic Education “Prophet Muhammad had said that a person who performs Hajj properly ‘will return as a newly born baby’ (free of all sins)”, through this Muslims are retracing the footsteps of Muhammad, Abraham and Ishmael.
According to Islamic history, Abraham and his son are responsible for the production of the Ka’ba as an order by God. The Ka’ba symbolises the worship of one God, the God of Abraham. The Ka’ba is circled seven times as Muhammad did after he had restored the pilgrimage as it had been established by Abraham, as quoted in the Council on Islamic Education “the Hajj consists of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of the prophet Abraham and his family”. The black rock that Muslims must try to touch is believed to be sent down from the heavens and therefore Muslims aim to touch the rock in an attempt to feel a spiritual connection with God. Muslims pray at Hajj because according to the Qur’an Abraham stood on this place while he built the Ka’ba and therefore God had ordered people to pray there.
Hajj incorporates the concepts of Shahada, this being Shahda’s emphasis on the Prophet Muhammad. To express their faith in Muhammad’s significance, Hajj was built based on Muhammad’s life.
Abraham left his wife Hager and his son Ishmael in the desert as an order by God. Ishmael became thirsty so his mother ran between two hills known as Safa and Marwa in search for water. Finally, the angel Gabriel came down to Hager and Ishmael and with the tip of his wing struck the ground and water began to flow from the rock. This is the reasoning for the fast movement in which Muslims make between Safa and Marwa.
When Muslims are completing Salat, they face the direction of Mecca. Therefore Muslims spend most of their time in Mecca praying to God as it is known as the most sacred place for Muslims.
During Hajj all Muslims are required to wear Ihram, dressing the same shows a sign of equality. Muslims travel to Mina before travelling to Arafat, their aim is to retrace the exact footsteps of Muhammad on his Hajj which explains the rest at Mina as Muhammad did himself.
While at Arafat, Muslims are still dressed in their Ihram clothes. For this reason, it is viewed as a rehearsal of judgement day where there is no discrimination of “…different colours, languages, races and ethnicities…” only of good and bad deeds. In addition, the day of Arafat is also symbolic of absolute and utter devotion to God.
Once the sun has set, Muslims leave Arafat for Muzdallifa. During this journey, stones and pebbles are collected in order to