The Significance of Hajj in Islam

The Significance of Hajj in Islam

Hajj in Islam

During Dhul Hijjah, one of the most important months in the Islamic lunar calendar, a large number of Muslims from around the world perform Hajj. In 2023, over 1.8 million Muslims performed Hajj in Saudi Arabia. If you or your loved ones are also planning to take part in this year’s Hajj, this guide can help you understand the importance of Hajj in Islam. 

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What is Hajj in Islam? 

Hajj in Islam is the sacred annual Muslim pilgrimage. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and takes place in Saudi Arabia. Every able-bodied Muslim adult with the financial means is obligated to perform Hajj at least once in their life. It takes place between the 8th day and 13th day of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It challenges pilgrims physically, emotionally, and spiritually, giving us the opportunity to seek forgiveness for our sins and come closer to Allah (SWT). 

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The Origin and History of Hajj

The history of Hajj begins with the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) who faced the test of leaving His wife Hajar and infant son Isma’il (AS) in the desert of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The Prophet Ibrahim (AS) followed Allah’s (SWT) command and left them alone in the desert. Soon, they ran out of water and food. Isma’il (AS) cried because of thirst, and Hajar ran between the nearby hills of Safa and Marwa in search of water. However, despite running between the two hills seven times, she had to return without water to Ismail (AS). 

While crying, Ismail (AS) struck the ground with His leg. By Allah’s (SWT) command, a spring of water erupted from that spot and both of them were able to quench their thirst. Today, we know it as the well of Zam Zam. Hajar traded this water with travelers to obtain food and other provisions. When the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was commanded by Allah (SWT) to return to His family years later, He was astonished to see the miracles. 

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Allah (SWT) then commanded the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to build the Kaa’ba. Together, the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and His son Ismail (AS) constructed a small stone structure for the gathering of Muslims. The Prophets Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) made a pilgrimage to the site annually. 

But over the following millenniums, pagan Arabs took over the site. The Prophet Muhammad () restored the Kaa’ba and reinstated the tradition of Hajj in Islam. 

Difference Between Umrah and Hajj in Islam 

While Hajj is obligatory at least once in life for Muslims who have the physical and financial capability for it, Umrah is a pilgrimage to Makkah that is undertaken voluntarily. In addition, the rites for Umrah are different from that of Hajj in Islam. 

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Where is Hajj performed? 

Hajj is performed by Muslims in Makkah and its vicinity in Saudi Arabia. The locations where the rites and rituals of Hajj take place include Makkah, Mina, Mount ‘Arafah, and Muzdalifah.

What is the duration of Hajj in Islam and when is it performed? 

The duration of Hajj is five to six days, starting on the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah and ending on the 12th or 13th day of this month in the Islamic calendar. Since the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the date of Hajj changes by a few days in the Gregorian calendar every year and depends on the sighting of the moon. 

When is Hajj 2024? 

Depending on the sighting of the moon, Hajj 2024 is expected to take place between June 14, 2024, and June 19, 2024.

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What are the three types of Hajj? 

The three types of Hajj in Islam you can perform include Tamattu, Ifraad, and Qiran.

How old is Hajj? 

The history of Hajj can be traced back to 2000 BCE. Hajar, the Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) wife ran between Safa and Marwa in search of water, and the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and His son Ismail (AS) constructed the Kaaba. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) performed the first official Hajj with a group of worshipers in 632 CE. 

What is the significance of Mount Arafah in Hajj? 

Mount Arafah is the site where the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) prepared to sacrifice His son for Allah (SWT).

Who is exempt from performing Hajj in Islam? 

Hajj is only mandatory for Muslims who have the physical and financial capacity for it. Only Muslim adults (both male and female) are obligated to perform Hajj. While children are not required to perform Hajj, they are allowed to go to Hajj. Those who don’t have the physical ability to perform the pilgrimage due to old age, sickness, or another reason are also exempt. Muslims who don’t have the financial capacity or are in debt are exempt from performing Hajj as well. 

In the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, be sure to maximize your rewards and blessings by helping the underprivileged. You can give your Eid-al-Adha donations online with ease through Transparent Hands to change many lives this Dhul Hijjah. 

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