Hajj Is the most prestigious pilgrimage which is performed in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Mecca for Muslims has a very important position for their faith and worship towards Allah. Allah is the demonstration of Muslims that they have to submit themselves for Allah. This is chance of getting the blessings and this is not only the journey to Allah’s house physically but also the submission of past present and future in the path of Islam, which is the right path! This pilgrimage is performed from 8th to 12th (or in some cases 13th) of Dhu al-Hijjah, as this is the last month of the Islamic Calendar. This calendar is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar as the Islamic calendar is lunar and that is the reason why the date of Hajj keeps changing every year.
If we talk about the literal meaning of Hajj, Arabic: A "pilgrimage" during this pilgrimage Muslims visit Kaaba which is the home of Allah, so we can say that Hajj means visiting House of Allah. The practice of Hajj is reported to begin in the era of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) when Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) built Kaaba after Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be Upon Him) and Prophet Adam (Peace be Upon Him) also built the same place for worship during their age.
When the pilgrims wear Ihram, they have to restrain themselves from all the prohibited deeds, as Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also did the same while performing this pilgrimage and from the 7th century till now the rituals of the Hajj are same as explained and showed by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him). So Ihram is considered to be the spiritual state when Muslim men wear white sheets which are un-stitched and females wear the gown and gloves, but let their face uncovered. During the days of Hajj, more than 3 million of people from all over the world come to perform this religious obligation and for a week, these pilgrims simultaneously converge on Mecca to perform the series of rituals. In 2017, their were 1,752,014 pilgrims who were reportedly gathered in Mecca from outside The Kingdom so that they can perform Umrah and it was also reported that the number of Saudi residents which came was 600,108 if we combine the figures the total number of pilgrims was 2,352,122 altogether. All these Muslims walk around the Kaaba counter-clockwise seven times and runes between the Safa and Marwah then they drink the water from Zamzam well. Then they go to the plains of Arafat and in vigil, they all stand and spend the night in the plains of Muzdalifa, and there these Muslims perform the symbolic stoning of Satan and throw the stones on three pillar which depicts the confined devil. Then the Muslims perform the sacrifice of their animal ( goat, sheep, camel, cow) and shave their heads, females trim their hair a bit. Then comes the festival of Eid ul Adha which is celebrated by the Muslims three days.
This pilgrimage is carried by Muslims once in their life, when they are mental, physically and financially stable enough that in their absence their family gets the proper support. This state of being capable of performing Hajj is known Istita'ah, and the Muslims which are capable enough is known as Mustati. In the Quran, Allah states that “And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs 'umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in penalty.” (2:196) This gathering is one of the largest gatherings in the world where Muslims from all the casts and creed gather to visit Kaaba and perform their religious obligation. As this is the part of every Muslim's faith, till there is a relief for those people who are not physically and financially stable enough.
All the Muslims know that Hajj has very significant importance in the history of Islam, the first Hajj was performed by Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be Upon Him) after he completed the construction of Kaaba. This means that it’s importance is not reported only in the tenure of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) but from the age of his grandfather Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be Upon Him). This is the process which purifies the soul of Muslims from all the sins which they have done in the past. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, "Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
This is the source of getting as much blessing as you can from the Allah Almighty and come close to religion. This chance is given to the people so that they can actually come close to Allah The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said: “He who intends to perform hajj should hasten to do so.” Sunan Abi Dawud 1732
Hajj is the chance which is given to Muslims by Allah to become His guest. This is a very big thing and that is the reason why pilgrims who get the chance are said to be the lucky ones who are given the chance to avail the unlimited blessings of Allah live from His Almighty’s house, Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'The guests of Allah are three: The ghazi, the Hajj (pilgrim) and the Mu'tamir''' Sunan an-Nasa'i 2625 This is a blessing for all the Muslims who have already performed Hajj or have the plan to go on the most important pilgrimage of their lives. May all the Muslims from all around the world get the chance to perform this journey safely, Ameen.
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