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What Happens When Muslims Perform the Hajj

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What Happens When Muslims Perform the Hajj

Before entering Mecca during the hajj Muslims pilgrims must follow
certain requirements. Muslims should first say the Talbiya, recited
Arab words used for centuries. Then they should first take a bath as
this symbolises purity. Then they should change into the required
clothing for the hajj, for men this is two sheets of unsown white
material and for women it is a clean plain dress, this symbolises
equality for all Muslims, by all wearing the same clothes the
differences of wealth between all Muslims during the Hajj becomes
irrelevant.

Muslims performing the hajj have to follow certain rules while
performing the hajj: They must not use any perfume. No animals or
insects should be killed during the hajj. No plants should be damaged
or destroyed. Nothing dishonest or unkind should be done during the
hajj. No weapon should be carried. The head must be covered. Hair and
nails should not be cut while in the state of ihram and finally no
sexual intercourse is allowed. When these rules have been carried out,
the pilgrim has entered a state of ihram, they must follow these rules
to stay in ihram.

As soon as Muslims arrive in Mecca for the hajj they should perform
wudu in preparation to perform tawaf, once wudu is done they will
begin tawaf and circle the Kaaba seven times. If it is the first time
the pilgrim has performed the hajj the pilgrim will enter through a
gate called Bab Al Salam which translates roughly as "the gate of
peace". When performing tawaf the pilgrims will hold hands to keep the
crowd moving, they will also recite the following, "O lord, grant this
house greater honour, respect and awe; and grant those who respect it
and make pilgrimage to it, peace and forgiveness. O lord! Thou art the
peace. Peace is from thee. So greet us on the Day of Judgement with
the greetings of peace."

When the pilgrim has completed tawaf they will make their way across
to the well of Zamzam. This is where Hagar and her son Ishmael found
water walk is they are not able to, between the two mountians of Marwa
and Safa. These are the mountains which Hagar ran between seven times
to search for water to quench her thirst after she was left by
Abraham. This process which the pilgrims will do is called the sa'y,
many Muslims will recite prayers as they jog. There is now a walkway
there to make it easier for pilgrims and for safely numbers due to the
large number of people performing the hajj each year. Disabled
pilgrims performing the hajj as there are now two passageways for
wheelchairs.

When the pilgrims have completed sa'y they will then focus their
attention to the next significant stage of the hajj. This will occur
on the ninth day of the pilgrimage and if the pilgrim does not
complete it, he cannot be considered as having don't the hajj. The
plain of Arafat itself is about 13 miles away from Mecca, to the East,
it is 8 miles from Mina. The plain itself is about two and a half
square miles. In the middle of the plain of Arafat lies a hill known
as the mount of mercy, this is where Muhammed preached his last sermon
to his followers. Most pilgrims will not be able to get up and close
with it due to the sheer numbers of pilgrims each year, around two
million at a time could be present. However there is a mosque near
where you can hear a sermon being given to commemorate the sermon
given by Muhammed on his last visit to Arafat. This part of the hajj
is considered to be the most important, in Muhammeds in words he says
"the hajj is Arafat", so it is more important than circling the Kaaba
or even kissing the black stone.

The pilgrims will then be taken back along the road leading to Mecca
but only as far as the hill of Muzalifah which is 4 miles from Arafat.
Here pilgrims will say prayers and gather pebbles.

On the tenth day of the month Dhu-el-hijja, which is known as
Eid-ul-Adha, there will be celebrations of the completion of the hajj
and observe special ceremonies.

Then, as part of the ritual of the hajj all the pebbles that the
pilgrims have collected (seven) will be thrown at the great pillar.
The sacrifice of an animal will also be performed on the day of Eid,
this will usually be a goat or a sheep. This is to commemorate
Abrahams sacrifice of a ram, Bedouin tribesmen will lead hordes of
animals in the area to be sold to pilgrims, pilgrims often share the
cost of an animal if they cannot afford one on their own, the animal
will then be slaughtered either by an employed butcher or a pilgrim
themselves. Some of the meat will be eaten at Mina while the rest will
be given to the poor.

After this men will have their heads shaved and then they will return
to Mecca to Circle the Kaaba once again to complete the hajj. They
will perform tawaf once again before they bid farewell to Mecca, it is
actually called the tawaf al-wada, which means it is a farewell tawaf.

B) Explain the importance of the hajj for Muslims and the ways it
affects their lives.

The hajj is important for many Muslims as it is one of the five
pillars of Islam which were written in the Koran, so it is a very
important part of their life for them, most Muslims will aim to do the
hajj once in their life.

The running around the of the hills seven times is important for them
because they are re-living Hagar's search for water , the two hills
then became known as Safa and Marwa and the well in which she found
water she named Zamzam.

There are also several rules which are important for them for their
own reasons, they do not wear perfume so they can forget the luxuries
of everyday life. They will not harm animals or insects to remind them
Allah is the creator and everything belongs to him, they do not even
uproot plants so as to show love to the world Allah has created. They
will not do anything dishonest or be unkind to anyone so they can aim
at being a true servants of Allah. They will not carry weapons to
symbolise giving up aggression, their heads must be covered as this is
an expression of humanity. Hair and nails will not be cut so as not to
interfere with nature and no sexual intercourse is allowed so they can
forget the worldly pleasures on concentrate on being spiritual. They
will also do several procedures before entering mecca (ie. having a
bath) to show their true purity.

It is important to try and see, and even kiss if they are lucky
enough, this is because Hagar had tried to kiss and touch the stone as
it had come from heaven. It is said that it used to be in the garden
of Eden but it turned black when Adam sinned, it is said that it had
been on the grave of Adam on mount Abu Quasis.

The plain of Arafat is very sacred to them and it is important for
them to visit it because it is where Muhammed performed his last
sermon with his followers while making the pilgrimage.

It will affect their lives greatly as peoples perspectives on life
often changes, for example Malcom X went on the hajj and converted to
mainstream Islam when he saw many different races all coming together
for Allah on the hajj, many people take a different look on life now
they have experienced life without luxuries during their time on the
hajj. Muslims can also learn about Islam as they will meet many people
on their time on the hajj and it is very likely they will leave more
knowledgeable on Islam, and perhaps they will leave as more committed
Muslims.

C)

I disagree I don't think the hajj is a journey within because one of
the main aims is to visit the sites which are important to Islam and
Muslims and perhaps even recreate what figures like Muhammed and Hagar
did in their time there. It is a pillar of Islam and almost a
requirement for Muslims so they should perform it or have someone
perform it on their behalf if possible during their lifetime.

However it could be argued it is a journey within as it is very
spiritually based, someone can perform it on your behalf but it still
counts as you doing it, as no physical journey is commited a journey
within must take place. If you die trying to get to the hajj Allah
will look kindly upon you and it will be counted as if you perform the
hajj, similarly if you perform selfless actions like give the money
for travelling to the hajj to the needy it will be counted as if you
done the hajj, this shows aspects of the hajj are not physical and are
spiritual. It could also be said that events like the stoning of the
pillar is a symbol of the fight within yourself against the devil and
the time is spent as a learning experience within yourself in which
you will leave a better Muslim.

However I think this is a physical exercise in recreating what the
leading figures in Islam done in their time near Mecca., it is these
recreations that make the hajj so important, these recreations make up
the hajj so in my view it is a physical journey.

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