By Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Those who do not know much about the Muslim Hajj, we will try to brief them on the basic information about it in the following lines:
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported have said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): Testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, establishing Prayer, giving Zakah, Hajj, and fasting Ramadan.” (An-Nasa’i)
- Hajj is obligatory on every Muslim who is financially and physically able to perform it.
- Hajj is obligatory once in a lifetime.
- Muslims make hajj in commemoration of the trials of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim, peace be upon him) and his family in Mecca, which included Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in response to God’s command.
- The rituals of hajj include the following:
- Entering the state of Ihram at certain places appointed to each country.
- Circulating the Kabah seven times,
- Walking between the Mountains of As-Safa and Al-Marwah seven times.
- On Dhul-Hijjah 8, pilgrims gather in Mina, outside Mecca, and spend the night there.
- Early the following morning, pilgrims head to Arafah, where they spend the day praying for God’s forgiveness.
- After sunset, pilgrims move on to Muzdalifah, where they spend the night, then they head back to Mina.
- On Dhul-Hijjah 10, Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Adha. Many pilgrim would have made arrangements to sacrifice a sheep on that day. They also cut or shave their hair. Pilgrims symbolically stone Satan in Mina.
- After throwing the pebbles, pilgrims return to Mecca to offer the Farewell Tawaf and thus they complete the rituals of pilgrimage.
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