What is Hajj?
Hajj Info: Hajj is the fifth and the last pillar of Islam close by Shahadah, Salat, Sawm or Roza and Zakat. It is a yearly Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious obligation for Muslims that must be completed in any event once in their lifetime by every single grown up Muslim who is physically and financially equipped for undertaking the journey , and can bolster their family amid their absence. The Hajj is the biggest annual gathering of individuals on the planet in a single place. Hajj rites include circling the Kaaba, traveling between the mountains of Safa and Marwah, praying on the plains of Arafah and casting stones at pillars that represent the devil.
The end of hajj is marked by the holiday of Eid al-Adha (not to be confused with Eid al-Fitr), in which an animal is sacrificed, a feast is held and people pray and exchange gifts.
When Does the Hajj Occur?
Hajj Info#1: The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th (or in some cases 13th) of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year. Last year, the date for Hajj was 23th September 2015. Because the lunar calendar is eleven days shorter, this year the expected date for the Hajj pilgrimage is 11th September 2016.
How to Watch Hajj Live?
Hajj Info#2: Not everyone is lucky enough to experience hajj once in their lifetime but nowadays, almost everyone has access to internet or TV. If you want to experience the hajj being carried out visually, you may flick through the Islamic channels on the television namely, Q TV, Peace TV, etc. and the Saudi-owned news site Al Arabiya also has a live blog for hajj coverage. On the internet, many websites such as makkah.tv.com.pk, makkahlive.net or hajj.tv.com.pk provide live streaming links from where you can view the beautiful Kaaba and the hajj being performed by millions of people around the world.
History of Hajj
Hajj Info#3: The present example of Hajj was set up by the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). However, as per the Quran, components of Hajj follow back to the season of Abraham, around 2000 BCE. As per Islamic custom, Abraham was requested by God to leave his wife (Hagar) and his child Ishmael alone in the desert of old Mecca. Looking for water, Hagar urgently ran seven times between the two slopes of Safa and Marwah however discovered none. Returning in gloom to Ishmael, she saw the infant scratching the ground with his leg and a drinking fountain sprang forward underneath his foot. Later, Abraham was summoned to assemble the Kaaba (which he did with the assistance of Ishmael) and to welcome individuals to perform journey there. The Quran alludes to these episodes in verses 2:124-127 and 22:27-30. It is said that the archangel Gabriel brought the Black Stone from Heaven to be joined to the Kaaba.
In pre-Islamic Arabia, a period known as jahiliyyah, the Kaaba got to be encompassed by agnostic idols. In 630 CE, Muhammad (P.B.U.H) drove his followers from Medina to Mecca, rinsed the Kaaba by obliterating all the agnostic icons, and afterward reconsecrated the working to Allah. In 632 CE, Muhammad (P.B.U.H) played out his lone and last journey with an expansive number of supporters, and educated them on the ceremonies of Hajj. It was there that Hajj got to be one of the five pillars of Islam.
Rites of Hajj – Hajj Info:
At the point when the explorers come to the fitting Miqat (contingent upon what standpoint they’re maintaining), they go into a condition of blessedness – known as Ihram – that comprises of wearing two white consistent materials for the male, with the one wrapped around the abdomen coming to beneath the knee and the other hung over the left shoulder and tied at the right side; wearing standard dress for the female that satisfies the Islamic state of open dress with hands or face uncovered; proclaiming the aim (niyah) to perform the pilgrimage. The ihram is meant to show equality of all pilgrims in front of God: there is no difference between the rich and the poor.
2. Tawaaf & Sa’ay
The ritual of Tawaf involves walking seven times counter clockwise around the Kaaba. Amid tawaf, travelers additionally include Hateem – a range at the north side of the Kaaba – inside their way. Every circuit begins with the kissing or touching of the Black Stone (Hajar al-Aswad) . Kissing of the stone is usually impractical due to the crowds of people, therefore Hajis may just point towards the stone with their hand . Eating is not allowed but rather the drinking of water is permitted, on account of the danger of Hajis getting dehydrated. Men are urged to play out the initial three circuits at a rushed pace, known as Ramal, and the accompanying four at an all the more relaxed pace.
The completion of Tawaf is followed by two Rakaat prayers at the Place of Abraham (Muqam Ibrahim), a site near the Kaaba inside the mosque. However, again because of large crowds during the days of Hajj, they may instead pray anywhere in the mosque. After supplication, travelers likewise drink water from the Zamzam well, which is made accessible in coolers all through the Mosque. Although the circuits around the Kaaba are made at ground floor, due to the increasing amount of pilgrims and crowd wanting to perform Hajj, circuiting is also made available on the first floor and the roof of the mosque.
Tawaf is followed by sa’ay, running or strolling seven times between the slopes of Safa and Marwah, situated close to the Kaaba. This ritual commemorates the Sunnah of Hazrat Bibi Hajrah who ran the slopes of these mountain in search of water. The whole mountainous spot is presently altogether encased by the Masjid al-Haram mosque, and can be accessed by means of aerated and cooled tunnels. Pilgrims are encouraged to walk the circuit, however two green columns check a short area of the way where they run. There is additionally an interior “express path” for the handicapped. After sayee, the male pilgrims shave their heads and ladies by and large cut a part of their hair.
The second stage of the hajj takes place between the 8th and 12th days of Dhu al-Hijja, beginning with a sermon (khutba) at the mosque on the 7th day. On the eighth day and night, the pilgrim stays at Mina or Arafat. On the ninth day, the ritual of wuquf (“standing”) takes place at the small hill of Jabal al-Rahma in Arafat. The pilgrim then returns to Muzdalifa, a small town within the Meccan boundaries, to pray and stay the night.
The tenth day is Eid al-Adha (The Feast of Sacrifice), a major holiday observed by all Muslims. For those participating in the hajj, the day is spent in Mina, where the pilgrim sacrifices an animal to commemorate Abraham’s sacrifice and throws seven small stones at each of three pillars on three consecutive days (the pillars represent sins and devils). The pilgrim then returns to Mecca, where he or she once again performs the tawaf (circulation of the Ka’ba). The head is then shaved or the hair is trimmed, which marks the end of the state of ihram.
The Legacy of Qurbani
As per Muslim scriptures, God required sacrifice from Ibrahim of whatever he held most dear. Angel Gibrael bought this message to Ibrahim and he realized, that the most dearest entity to him in this world was his son Ismael. When he bought this news to his son he without any further thought replied that since it was Allah’s command it should be put into action immediately.
Ibrahim started his journey with his son to sacrifice his most dearest possession in the name of Allah. Scriptures say that Satan appeared thrice and tried to dissuade Ibrahim against his noble actions. Ibrahim threw stones to turn the Satan away all those three times. Upon reaching the destination Ibrahim blindfolded himself because he knew he couldn’t bear witnessing sacrificing his son like that.As he raised his knife, God sent Gabriel and switched Ismail with a goat. In the remembrance of this great act of Ibrahim, God commanded all Muslims to establish this Sunnah of Ibrahim and if their means allows to sacrifice their own animal in the name of Allah.
More than 2 million Muslims complete the hajj each year. The government of Saudi Arabia has contributed significant resources to maintain the holy places and manage the crowd of pilgrims. Despite the large numbers seen in Mecca each year, only a small percentage of Muslims have fulfilled the duty. Those who have done so may add the title hajj or hajji to their names.
Disasters During Hajj:
Hajj Info#4: With such a vast number of people in one place at one time, failures of crowd control and other problems have sometimes led to disaster. Some of the recent tragedies associated with the hajj have included:
- On July 31, 1987, Iranian pilgrims riot, causing the deaths of over 400 people.
- On July 9, 1989, two bombs exploded, killing one pilgrim and wounding another 16. Saudi authorities beheaded 16 Kuwaiti Shiite Muslims for bombings after originally blaming Iranian terrorists.
- On July 2, 1990, a stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel leading to Mecca led to the deaths of 1402 pilgrims.
- In 1994, another stampede killed 270 pilgrims.
- On February 1, 2004, 244 Muslim pilgrims were killed and another 244 injured in a stampede during the stoning of the devil ritual.
- On September 11, 2015, heavy winds during a storm caused heavy cranes to fall through the roof of the Grand Mosque killing 107 and injuring almost 238.
- On 24 September 2015, a crowd collapse caused the deaths of at least 2,236 pilgrims who were suffocated or crushed during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, Mecca, making it the deadliest Hajj disaster in history.
Seen inability to keep these occasions, or to respond properly to them, has prompted solid feedback of the Saudi Arabian powers by Muslims. It ought to be said that such occasions are sufficiently normal over every single religious festival. In January 2005, for instance, Indian Hindu customs brought about a rush when admirers outside a place of worship discovered that their relatives had been squashed subsequent to slipping on the coconut milk that had been blasted upon a sacrificial stone as an offering to God. We can likewise recollect the memorial service of Ayatollah Khomeini, when the free for all of a huge number of grievers achieved a risky top and the body dropped out of the coffin.
Hajj Pictures & Images – Hajj Info:
Image of pilgrims circulating around the Masjid al Haraam performing Hajj at night..
Pilgrims wearing ihrams and praying at the field of Arafat on the day of Hajj..
Haji are doing Tawaf-uz-Ziarah after Hajj..
Pilgrims performing the Stoning of the devil ceremony at Hajj..
Pilgrims visiting and drinking from the well of Zamzam..
Haji takes selfies in the ground of Arafat..
Facts about Hajj – Hajj Info:
- Muslims who have completed Hajj are called Hajis. Some even add the title ‘Haji’ in front of their name to signify their achievement that takes a life time to achieve.
- Mount Arafat is the place Prophet Muhammad PBUH conveyed his last sermon in which he lectured on how no white has any precedent over any black, that Muslims ought to treat ladies with respect and dignity and give them their due rights; that all Muslims are siblings and ought to stay joined together and the only thing that makes you better than each other is on the basis of Taqwa and nothing else.
- Jamaraat are three dividers situated in close region to each other that give the definite spot where the devil, in human structure, attempted to misdirect Prophet Ibrahim against taking after Allah’s directions. Prophet Ibrahim reproached him by tossing stones at him and he left.
- Millions of Muslims today as per the rituals follow the same sunnah and stone the 3 walls at the Jamaraat.
- After the stoning ritual, Muslims perform Qurbani in which they sacrifice a goat, sheep, cow or camel depending on what they can afford. The meat is circulated to poor people and the penniless and additionally neighbors, family and relatives. Numerous individuals give their Qurbani to poor people.
- Pilgrims perform the Tawaf Al-Wida after Hajj before heading home. Tawaf-al-Wida entails walking around the Holy Kabaa inside Masjid Al-Haram in circle 7 times.
- Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) performed Umrah 4 times and Hajj once
- Over 3 million pilgrims performed Hajj a year ago. This number is relied upon to significantly increase this year and will do so in the coming years.
- There is no segregation among the genders while at the Grand Mosque amid the hajj, not at all like the numerous other Muslim customs. Men and women stand next to each other as equals before God.
- Muslims can visit Mecca and surrounding holy sites any time of the year, but the hajj falls during the eighth and the 12th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic Luar calendar. The ritual at any other time of the year is called “umrah.”
- A median of 9 percent of Muslims around the world said they made the pilgrimage to Mecca, according to a recent Pew poll.
- Saudi officials have been forced in recent years to limit the number of pilgrims, as more and more people have applied in recent years and will be doing so. More than 3.1 million people performed the hajj in 2013. To accommodate the crowd, Saudi authorities have sought to expand the Grand Nabwi Mosque, which sits around Islam’s holiest site. the cube like building in the center is called the Kaaba.
- Many Muslims worldwide have criticized the Saudi government for commercializing and seeking to cash in on the pilgrimage.
- Mecca is thought to be the place where Ishmael and his mother Hagar were provided with a spring of water in a barren desert.
- As it is the most sacred place in Islam, non-Muslims are forbidden from entering.
- Pilgrims drink the water of the Zamzam well, found 20m east of the Kaaba, as it is thought to have exceptional properties. The water is accepted to originate from the same source as the spring which gave water to Ishmael.
How Long Does it Take to Perform Hajj?
Hajj Info#5: Hajj ibadah takes 5 days to complete. According to Muslim beliefs God accepted the ibadat and the actions of the family of Ibrahim and accepted the prayer of Ibrahim that his ibaddah be recognized and be a part of this world till the end of times.