What is Hajj (Pilgrimage)? – Best 2023 Guide

What is Hajj

Every year Hajj gathers Muslims from different nationalities, countries, and ethnicities to obey Allah. This worship unifies over a million Muslims to perform Pilgrimage rituals to seek Allah’s closeness.

But what is Hajj? And why is it important in Islam? Check out the answers in the blog.

What is Hajj? 

Hajj or pilgrimage is a worship that Muslims perform annually in Mekka, especially at the holy mosque and other sacred sites. It’s the fifth pillar of Islam that Muslims should do besides the other obligatory cults. 

According to prophet Muhammed’s hadith, he said:

“Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the salah (prayer), paying the zakat (obligatory charity), making the hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

When is Hajj?

Hajj rituals are held once a year. Muslims begin performing the Hajj worship on the 8th till the 13th day of Dhu al Hijjah. The whole period of Hajj is six days.

Who must participate in Hajj?

Whoever performs Hajj rituals should be:

  • Muslim believes in monotheism.
  • Sane.
  • Adult.
  • Healthy physically to be able to perform All the rituals.
  • Free not a slave.
  • Able to do Hajj materially.

Difference Between Hajj and Umrah

Performing Hajj is obligatory on every Muslim.Performing Umrah represents following the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammed (PBUH). So it’s non-obligatory worship.
Hajj has four pillars: Ihram, Saee, Waqfat Arafat, and Tawaf al-Ifadah.Umrah has three pillars: Ihram, Tawaf, and Saee.
Muslims only do Hajj once a year.Muslims can perform Umrah at any time in the year except for Hajj season.

How Do Muslims Dress for Hajj?

Men Dress for Hajj:Women Dress for Hajj:
Before Men start to perform Hajj rituals, they wear special clothing for Ihram which is not sewn. It’s comprised of two pieces of cloth. It’s called a garment.
Men wear this garment by wrapping one piece around their waist and the other piece they put on their shoulders. As for what they dree up for their feet, they wear slippers or sandals.
There is no special clothing for Hajj for women. But their clothes should be loose and not striking to men. They usually dress up the cloak (Abaya).
If a woman wears a niqab, she should take it off before doing Hajj rituals. It’s not allowed to cover their faces.

Steps of the Hajj:

1. Ihram 

The first step pilgrims should take to do Hajj rites is Ihram from Miqat. Ihram represents the intention of performing pilgrimage.

In this step, you wear Ihram clothing and recite Talbya, which is:

Labbayk Allaahumma Labbayk, Labbayk laa shareeka laka Labbayk, ‘innal-hamda, wanni’mata, laka walmulk, laa shareeka laka.

“Ever at Your service, O Allah, every at your service. Ever at Your Service, You have no partner, ever at your service. Verily all praise, blessings, and dominions are yours. You have no partner.”
لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، انَّالْحَمْدَ، وَالنِّعْمَةَ، لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ، لا شَرِيكَ لَكَ

2. Saee

Between Safa and Marwa mountains, pilgrims take seven rounds and then do seven laps 

3. Doing payers at Mina 

The second step is related to the “Tarwiyah day”, where pilgrims go to Mina town and stayed to do all the obligatory prayers. They do this ritual on the eighth day of Dhul Hijja.

4. Standing on Arafat Mount 

All the pilgrims gather to stand on Arafat Mount on “Arafa day”, which falls on the 9th day of the month. 

On this day, the pilgrims make duas to Allah and recite Talbiyah. They stay at Arafa Mount till sunset.

5. Praying at Muzdalifah

Between Mina town and Mount Arafat, there is a town called Muzdalifah where the pilgrims stay until the morning of Eid Al Adha.

In this step, they perform Maghrib and Isha prayers together and with Qasr.

6. Stoning the Devil (Rami)

After sunrise, the pilgrims return to Mina to stone the devil by throwing seven pebbles at Jimrat Al Aqaba Al Kubra. 

They perform stoning the devil for three days, starting from the 10th to the 12th day of Dhul Hijja.

7. Offering sacrificed animals 

The next step is slaughtering the sacrificed animals and distributing the meat to the poor.

8. Shaving and shortening hair 

On the 11th day, men shave their heads and women shorten their hair.

After shaving and shortening, pilgrims are allowed to do forbidden activities in Ihram. They are permitted to do any activity except for sexual intercourse.

9. Tawaf Al Ifadah 

The pilgrims head to Mekka on the 12th day of Dhul Hijja to perform tawaf Al Ifadah by circumambulating around Kabaa seven times.

On the same day, they complete rami or stoning the devil by throwing 21 pebbles. 

When they perform stoning the devil they say “Allahu Akbar الله أكبر”, which means “Allah is the greatest”.

10. The farewell tawaf (Tawaf Al Wida)

On the last day of Hajj and before leaving Mekka, pilgrims end their pilgrimage by performing farewell tawaf as they circumambulate around Kabba again.

Prohibitions of Ihram 

Here are the prohibitions of Ihram you must commit when you intend to perform Hajj: 

  • Shaving the hair from the head or any other area of the body.
  • Clipping nails.
  • Wearing perfumes on the skin or clothes.
  • Getting Married.
  • Hunting.
  • Having intercourse with the wife.
  • Covering head (for men).
  • Wearing a niqab and gloves (for women).
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Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam which is obligatory worship on Muslims to do on Dhul Hijja. It’s different from Umrah which is sunnah and Muslims can perform at any time except for the season of pilgrimage.

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