Find the useful information about the fifth pillar of islam, Hajj in muslim religion to tour mecca, saudi arabia. Hajj is the oldest and most sacred ritual of Islam.
Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world make the journey to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage or Hajj. It has been taking place annually without a break for over 1,400 years. This pilgrimage is the ultimate act of worship to Allah. Today as before, every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able to do so is obligated to make this journey once in his or her lifetime.Hajj is considered one of the five “pillars” of Islam. Muslims are required to make the pilgrimage once in a lifetime, if they are physically and financially able to make the journey to Mecca. The annual Hajj pilgrimage is one of the world’s largest gatherings, as hundreds of thousands of people flock to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in one of Islam’s five pillars of faith. Muslims from all over the world will gather together for five days to pray as one community, celebrating their history and giving thanks for blessings. From the Masjid Al Haram complex to the hills of Mina, the rites include circling the Kaaba seven times and visiting sites of historical and religious importance.
Preparing for the Hajj
When undertaking the pilgrimage, Muslims first shed all signs of their wealth and status by donning simple white garments, called ihram. The required pilgrimage dress for men is two white cloths, one of which covers the body from the waist down, and one that is gathered around the shoulder. Women usually wear a simple white dress and headscarf. The ihram is a symbol of purity and equality. When wearing the ihram, the pilgrims enter a state of devotion and purity, during which quarreling and violence (toward other people or even animals) is forbidden.
The Steps of Hajj Tour
State of Ihram
The first step for any pilgrim wishing to perform hajj is to enter a state of Ihram, which is a special state of purity. Men must don a distinctive outfit consisting of two pieces of white, unsown, cloth. One of the pieces is wrapped around his midriff to cover his lower body, while the other is draped around his shoulders to cover his upper body. Women must cover their bodies in a loose fitting outfit and cover their hair. However, they are not permitted to cover their faces.
Uttering the Talbiyah
In donning the Ihram the pilgrims also make a formal Declaration of Pilgrimage and pronounce a devotional utterance called the Talbiyah: “Doubly at Thy service, O God,” a phrase which they will repeat frequently during the Pilgrimage as an indication that they have responded to God’s call to make the Pilgrimage.
Going to Mina
On the eighth day of Dhu al-Hijjah the assembled pilgrims begin the Hajj by going–some on foot, most by bus, truck and car–to Mina, a small uninhabited village five miles east of Mecca, and there spend the night–as the Prophet (pbuh) himself did on his Farewell Pilgrimage–meditating and praying in preparation for “the Standing” (Wuquf), which will occur the next day and which is the central rite of the Hajj.
Pilgrims stay in the desert planes of Arafat, praying and repenting, until after sunset on the same day.“The 9th of Dhul-Hijjah is the Day of Arafat, which is the single most important day of performing the hajj. Hajj is not valid without the day of Arafat, any pilgrim who misses this day, misses the whole hajj,” Alkobaisi stated, expanding on the importance of this section of the pilgrimage.
Just after sunset, which is signaled by cannon fire, the pilgrims gathered at ‘Arafat immediately proceed in masse to a place called Muzdalifah a few miles back toward Mina. Traditionally, there, the pilgrims sleep under the stars after gathering a number of pebbles for use during the rites on the following days. Some gather 49 pebbles, other 70, and still others wait until they get to Mina.
Safa and Marwa
Pilgrims then travel back to the holy city of Makkah and the Masjid al-Haram, or the Great Mosque. Here, they perform the Tawaf; the circling of the Ka’aba seven times and then walk seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa in an act called the Sa’y.
Stoning the Pillars
Before daybreak on the 10th, again roused by cannon, the pilgrims continue their return to Mina. There they throw seven of the stones which they collected at Muzdalifah at one of three whitewashed, rectangular masonry pillars.
Kissing the Hajar al-Aswad (Black Stone)
While circling the Ka’bah the pilgrims should, if they can, kiss or touch the Black Stone (Hajar Al-aswad), which is embedded in the southeastern corner of the Ka’bah and which is the precise starting point of the seven circuits. Failing this, they salute it. Kissing the Stone is a ritual that is performed only because the Holy Prophet (pbuh) did it and not because any powers or symbolism attach to the Stone per se.
Interesting facts about the Hajj
- Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon was at Mt. Arafat. The Prophet had given explicit directions on how men and women should treat each other and spoken about the status of usury (interest).
- Muslims believe that performing the Hajj absolves them of past sins and is a Journey of Forgiveness. Before going on the pilgrimage Muslims ask their relatives, friends and acquaintances to pardon their mistakes.
- Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four include Shahada (belief in the oneness of Allah and his Prophet), Salat (offering prayers 5 times during the day), Sawm (fasting in the month of Ramadan), Zakat (giving in the way of charity in accordance with your wealth).
- Hajj ends with Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice. Muslims worldwide will celebrate by slaughtering a camel, sheep or cow to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead.
- The ministry of religious affairs sends out 3.25 million text messages each day to the cell phones of pilgrims to inform them of correct procedures for the Hajj rites so as to “prevent that which is harmful”, according to ministry official Sheikh Talal al-Uqail, cited by the official SPA news agency.