About Hajj

About Hajj

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About Hajj

A Muslim is obliged once in their lifetime ,by their religion along
with their own will, to take a pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia.
This pilgrimage is called Hajj and is an amazing journey that is done
for a definite purpose. It is part of the Five Pillars of Islam that
is the basis of the entire religion making it obligatory. Through
completing Hajj, a Muslim can begin to feel closer to Allah (Islam's
God) and experience inner fulfilment. Hajj must be done for the right
reasons, "it is for the glory of Allah not for the glory of the person
making the journey." Hajj literally means 'to set out for a place',
it's a journey with rites and rituals along the way. The Qu'ran calls
Muslims to 'complete the Hajj or Umrah in the service of Allah'.

For generations, the journey a Muslim takes has always started in
Makkah. This place is sacred because in 10AH, 632 CE, Muslim's believe
that Muhammad (pbuh)- Islam's most famous prophet - performed Hajj
with 1400 of his followers because Allah instructed him to. He also
lived and preached in Makkah during his lifetime. Since Muhammad's
pilgrimage, Makkah has been sacred to all Muslim's. They want to
follow in the footsteps of Muhammad and the prophets Adam, Ibrahim and
Isma'il as they believe that Allah is there to guide them through life
just as he guided the prophets. Makkah is classed as Holy Ground and
people go there to change their life as they wash away their sins.
They believe that Hajj and Makkah makes them a better person.

Hajj must take place at certain times because of its historic roots.
It is to be taken place between 8 and 13 Dhu'l Hijjah, the twelfth
month of the lunar calendar. If a Muslim journeys at another time,
it's known as 'Umrah' (a lesser pilgrimage that can be taken at any
time). The significance of this journey isn't as great as Hajj and the
journey isn't counted as a completion of the fifth pillar.

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The meaning of the world Islam is "A monotheistic religion
characterised by the acceptance of the doctrine of submission to God
and to Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God". By completing
Hajj, Muslims are showing their dedication to Allah and proving that
Allah is the most meaningful being in their life. The journey of Hajj
is the most memorable thing to a Muslim because of the connection they
build with Allah. Hajj completes a Muslim as a deeper person. By
taking the time and effort to complete this ritual, they are showing
their deep worship of Allah and the deep feelings that they feel for
the higher being and their religion as a whole. They are submitting
themselves to Allah fully when they voyage to Makkah and searching for
a feeling of oneness with Allah. Islam is also known to mean peace;
surrender of one's will. Muslim's surrender themselves to Allah fully
on Hajj. They surrender their own pleasure for the pleasure of Allah.

Rules

Every Muslim must partake in Hajj once in their lifetime as it is a
Pillar of Islam; a huge part of their religion. No matter what gender,
what family they are born into, every Muslim must complete this ritual
before they die. When they set off for Hajj, the Muslim must make sure
that everything at home will be fine when they aren't there. They must
make sure that there is financial support for any family members left
behind and there's care for any children or pets. When they leave for
Hajj, a Muslim must have organised things so that they won't be needed
by anyone at home. Everything should be arranged to keep everyday life
running smoothly whilst they're gone. They can't leave anyone in any
trouble or possible danger. This is done for consideration of other
people and to make sure that by completing Hajj, a Muslim isn't
jeopardising any other commitments they have.

Because Makkah is in Saudi Arabia, those who live a great distance
from the sacred city must somehow find the money to go on the trip.
People can sometimes be saving all of their lives in order to fulfil
the fifth Pillar. If someone can't afford to go, there is sometimes a
collection made by the local community to send this one person. This
is an accepted condition of Hajj. However, a Muslim is forbidden from
borrowing the money from someone else. It has to be gained rightly and
with no unlawful measurements taken to get it. The money is to be
gained themselves or is to have been raised for them.

If the Muslim is too ill and therefore does not have the strength or
physical fitness to attend Hajj, a 'substitute' can visit Makkah for
them. This doesn't happen very often but is accepted In Islamic
traditions. The only requirement enforced is that a substitute must
have already been on a pilgrimage for themselves so that the second
time they attend Hajj they are doing it solely for the unfit Muslim
and the experience would be for them only. One other exception to
completing Hajj is when a family member died before they had an
opportunity to attend Hajj. As long as they had the intention to go at
some point in their lifetime - i.e. they had already planned when to
go, they were saving up money etc - then their family member can
experience Hajj for them in the same way as a substitute would. This
experience would then be counted towards the dead Muslim on judgement
day.

If a Muslim can't attend Hajj for genuine reasons, they declare
Niyyah. This is where they fully intend to journey to Hajj and
sincerely want to but they can't because of a problem such as a
disability or weakness. When this happens they can declare Niyyah and
because their feelings show that they truly wanted to go to Hajj, the
duty of the pilgrimage is instantly fulfilled and they aren't obliged
to go. This is a way that Islam shows fairness and compassion within
the religion, as they are great believers of everyone being kind and
helpful in the same way that Allah is merciful and compassionate.

When in Makkah, there are certain rules that must be carried out by a
Muslim. During the completion of Hajj, a Muslim must not:

· Engage in marital relations - this includes any sexual thoughts or
activities.

· Shave or cut their nails/hair.

· Use perfume or scented oils - they aren't allowed any form of
perfume in any product they use including deodorant.

· Kill or hunt anything.

· Fight or argue - peace must be kept at all times.

· Women must not cover their faces, even if they would do so in their
home country.

· Men may not wear clothes with stitching.

· Bathing is allowed but scented soaps are frowned upon.

· No animals.

· No bloodshed.

· No carrying weapons.

· No jewellery.

Clothes are a big part of the Hajj experience because not only do they
stop Muslims from being vain and therefore impure, they also make all
the Muslims on Hajj equal and reduce any arguments. Allah created
everyone as equal and treats everyone as equal.

The reason for all of these rules is so that a Muslim will have their
complete focus and attention on Allah throughout Hajj. Their minds
won't stray to unimportant things; the journey will be done for Allah
without any complaints. Muslims are taught to not be dishonest,
arrogant or aggressive and these rules help to ensure that. Pilgrims
are to keep peace in their minds and think positive thoughts. Without
the worries of everyday life and the burden of modern privileges,
Muslims are more likely to keep these rules.

Some people start Hajj by taking lessons about the symbolism of what
happened in Makkah and the general history of their faith, However for
most people, the very first stage of Hajj is the point when they get
themselves into a state of ihram. The ihram is a white seamless item
of clothing that a Muslim wears throughout Hajj. This ihram is similar
to the clothes Muhammad (pbuh) wore on his pilgrimage to Makkah which
is what makes the clothes specifications symbolic. The clothing is
plain white as a sign or purity and being free of sin. Ihram is also a
state of mind. It's the most peaceful mindset that a person can be in
and is one the most important stages of Hajj.

As a Muslim puts of ihram, they must recite the 'Talbiya Du'a" which
is a special prayer to Allah. This prayer helps a Muslim to begin to
think of Allah and experience everything in the name of Allah. It
starts them on their spiritual journey that Hajj takes them on. They
repeat, "Here I am at Your service, O Allah, here I am at your
service! You have no partner. Here I am at your service. All praise
and blessings belong to you. All dominion is yours and You have no
partner." Muslim's speak all in Arabic because it is the language of
the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This language helps visiting Muslims from
all over the world to join together as they speak the sacred language.
They are able to communicate and share some of their worship for Allah
with other cultures.

Muslims believe that taking part in Hajj will incur that the Muslim
will be judged positively by Allah when they die. Muslims also believe
that Allah judges everyone after death on judgement day and decides
whether a person will be rewarded with paradise because of their good
acts in human life. If a Muslim doesn't carry out Hajj without
accepted reason, they aren't a true Muslim in the eyes of Allah.
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