The Hajj: Journey to Mekka

The Hajj: Journey to Mekka

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The Hajj: Journey to Mekka

The hajj is a pilgrimage to Mekka, which all healthy Muslims must
carry out. Although this is a compulsory journey, most Muslims would
be honoured to go. The hajj is one of the five pillars therefore being
an essential part of a Muslims’ faith and practice. Muslims travel to
Mekka to remember the trials of Abraham and his son and his sacrifice
to show commitment to God. Muslims only have to go on this pilgrimage
once in their lifetime but many choose to go more times. For some
Muslims it is not possible to go every year because of money, ill
health or age. If a Muslim family is poor then they will save up for
at least one member of the family to go.

Upon arriving in Mekka, Muslims wash and clean themselves known as
ghusl and then change into white clothing called Ihram. This is a
white seamless cloth, which is slightly different for male and
females. Females wear plain loose dresses that cover their whole body
except their faces, hands and feet. Males wear two unsown pieces of
cloth in which one is wrapped around their shoulders and the other is
from their waist to their ankles. After performing this task Muslims
recite the Talibiyah. This is a statement, which Muslims call out
while performing the hajj. When saying this, Muslim men should shout
and project their voice whereas women should only say the statement so
it is loud enough for themselves to hear. From now on Muslims are
forbidden to use any perfume, have any sexual relations, cut their
hair or nails or kill any living thing. This now means that each
Muslim is in the correct state of mind (consecration) to perform the

The process of circling The Ka’ba is known as Tawaf. They start by
raising their hands towards the black stone and reciting a prayer.
They then circle the Ka’ba seven times anti-clockwise starting from
the black stone. The Ka’ba is covered by a cloth called Kiswah. In the

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Qur’an it says the Ka’ba was originally built by Adam but was broken
down and re-built by Abraham and Ishma’il. The Ka’ba is positioned in
the centre so Muslims are the centre of their religion.

From the Ka’ba they go to two small hills called Marwa and Safa. Here
they run between the hills symbolising Hajar and his son Ishma’il
frantically searching for water in the desert. This shows how Allah
provides for people’s needs as he guides them to the spring of
Zam-Zam. This is known as Sa’i. The message in this story could be
Hajar’s patience and perseverance.

The next stage in the hajj is the Mount of Mercy or Arafat. Here
Muslims pray and ask for forgiveness. This is where it is said
Muhammad preached his last sermon. Muslims stand and pray until almost
sunset. This is symbolic of when Allah will stand before everyone on
Judgement Day. The meaning of this is to show being free from sins and
marking a new start in life. This is the most important stage in the
hajj. After the sunset the Muslims leave and travel to a nearby open
plain called Muzdalifah. There they spend the night praying and then
collect the small stones to be used the next day.

The following morning before sunrise, they travel to Mina. This is
where they throw stones at 3 stone pillars that represent the
temptations of the devil. Whilst they are doing this they are
recalling the story of Abraham and Ishma’il and also praying. Once
they have completed this they then sacrifice an animal and then they
give some of the meat to the poor. This shows their willingness to
sacrifice something so precious to them like the story of Abraham and
his son.

As in the start, Muslims return to Mekka to once again circle the
Ka’ba seven times anti-clockwise.

The hajj has different meanings for each Muslim. If a Muslim child
goes on the hajj they are likely to be excited and maybe nervous at
the same time because it is their first time going. An older person
might feel sad that they may never have the chance to go again however
they are likely to have been many times therefore they have memories
of going on the hajj. For Muslims who are poorer they may feel sad
that they unable to go but will probably still look forward to being
able to go in the future. For richer Muslims they may feel overwhelmed
that their whole family is able to take part in the hajj therefore
bringing the family closer together at this time. They may have a
sense of pride being able to go on the hajj but sorrow for the people
who could not.

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