Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj was made obligatory in the 9th year of Hijra. The Holy Prophet sent off 300 Muslims under the leadership of Hazrat Abubakr Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) to Mecca so that they could perform Hajj. That was the year when it was banned for the Mushrikeen (those who associate partners with Allah) to enter Ka’ba. It was also made unlawful to perform Tawaaf (circling of Ka’ba) with naked body.
The following year, 10th Hijra, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) announced a head of time he himself would perform Hajj that year. He led tens of thousands of Muslims to Hajj that year and demonstrated to Muslims how to perform all the rites and rituals of the Hajj. This Hajj is known in history as Hajjatul Wida’ or Farewell Pilgrimage because this proved to be the last Hajj the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) performed. At the end of this farewell pilgrimage, the divine revelation that had started some 22 years ago came to an end with the following verse of Surah Al-Maidah:
“This day have I completed My commandments for you, and have brought to its fullness the favor that I have bestowed upon you, and have chosen Islam as your religion”
.Hajj is an act of worship just like Salat (five daily prayers) and Sawm (fasting in the month of Ramadan). Muslims from all over the world gather in Mecca in the last month of Muslim calendar and worship Allah. Hajj is a special worship that lasts for several days. This is an occasion that brings Muslims of all countries, colors, and races to one place – the Ka’ba. This is a unique opportunity of worshipping Allah collectively in a large gathering at one place.
Significance & Philosophy of hajj
Every nation and society has a center of unity where they get together to worship God. They see prosperity and culture as relics of unity. People of the society get to know each other and understand each other’s difficulties. They form a unified front to remove these difficulties and achieve their goals. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And to every people We appointed rites of sacrifice, that they might mention the name of Allah…” (22:34)
With this idea, Hajj has been made a pinnacle of worship in order that Muslims who gather to perform Hajj can praise their Lord and Master, be thankful for His blessings, and humbly pray to Him for the removal of their difficulties. Muslims living in various parts of the world get to know each other, lay the foundation of social culture, give advice to each other, and provide opportunity for collective struggle.
Upon Whom Is It Obligatory To Perform Hajj
An adult Muslim of a sane mind, an able body and having means to bear the expenses must perform this act of worship once in his/her lifetime. There should be peace on the way to Mecca and there should be no hindrance or restriction in traveling to Mecca. Hajj is not obligatory for children, the sick, and those who are unable to bear the expenses for Hajj.
What are the Timings of Hajj (Pilgrimage)
There are specific months for performing the Hajj and are called “Months of Pilgrimage.” These three Islamic months are Shawwal, Ze-Qa’d and Dul-Hajj. During these three “Months of Hajj”, one prepares for the pilgrimage, attains good morals, and completes other physical conditions for the pilgrimage. All the essential duties of the pilgrimage have to be completed between 8th and the 13th day of Dul-Hajj. Additional tawaaf (circling around the Ka’ba), however, may be performed until the end of the month of Dul-Hajj.
Pillars of Hajj
There are three basic pillars for performing Hajj:
1.To enter into state of “Ihram” and have the intention to perform the pilgrimage.
2.To stay at the field of “Arafat” on the ninth of Dul-Hajj If someone cannot go to the field of Arafat even for a short time then his/her pilgrimage will not be complete. He/she has to perform the pilgrimage again the following year.
3.Additional circling of the “Ka’ba” that is done after the stay at the field of “Arafat” and performed from the tenth to the end of the month.