Being a pillar of Islam, we give a Complete Guide To Hajj And Its Importance For Muslims, Hajj has a great significance for Muslims around the world. For five days every year in “Dhul Hijjah” month in the Islamic calendar, more than 2.5 million Muslims come from every spot on earth to perform the sacred rituals that erases their past sins.
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّـهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّـهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّـهَ كَثِيرًا ﴿٢١﴾
“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.”
History of Hajj
Hajj can be traced back to Ibrahim and his son Ismail. Muslims believe Allah tested Ibrahim’s faith when He ordered him to sacrifice his only son, Ismail. Ibrahim was about to submit to the command when Allah intervened, sparing his son with a scapegoat sent down from the sky.
Most Hajj rituals are performed in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad, with the exception of one, which is a back-and-forth walk between two hills, Safa and Marwa. This one was traced back to Hagar, Ibrahim’s wife, who ran seven times between these two hills in search of water for her dying son. Allah then created a spring that continues to flow to this day.
The Importance And Benefits Of Hajj
Despite the difficulty of it, Muslims strive to do the Hajj rituals every year. Many people use canes or crutches and prefer to walk the routes.
Those who cannot afford the Hajj are sometimes supported by charitable organizations or community leaders and so on. But what makes Hajj that important?
Hajj is important to Muslims because it’s the fifth pillar of Islam, encourages unity and humility among Muslims, makes a learning journey, teaches patience and endurance, and wipes away all the past sins no matter how bad they are.
All Muslims who are physically and financially capable of making the pilgrimage must do so at least once in their lifetime.
Muslims of every ethnicity, color, social class, and culture join together in solidarity in the world’s largest annual gathering of people following in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and his companions on their first pilgrimage in Islam in the year 628.
When we talk about the benefits of Hajj, we must mention a few things aside from it being the fifth pillar of Islam that every capable Muslim should do. These things include:
Hajj probably involves long and tiring travel. The long journey teaches you how to be more patient and self-resistant. When you arrive, The rituals will be exhausting as well, especially during Mecca’s hot summers and in the midst of crowds of other pilgrims. That’s when you learn endurance and how to Maintain your dedication even when challenged with temptation or exhaustion.
A Must-have Spiritual Experience:
Hajj is one of the most spiritual experiences any Muslim can have. You spend 5 days facing challenges just to submit to Allah’s orders and express your love and gratitude for Him and ask for His promised reward of erasing your sins.
Strengthens Unity Among Muslims:
When you arrive in Mecca in your Ihram clothes, you find everyone wearing the same clothes doing the same things, for the love of one God that is Allah. That brings unity and enhances communication among the Muslim community.
Hajj purifies the soul, bringing with it purity, hope, and renewal. It strengthens the unity of all Muslims by strengthening individual faith.
Hajj Is Mentioned In The Hadith
Hajj is mentioned in lots of Prophet Mohammed’s statements (Hadith) regarding its rituals and rewards. Some of these are:
“One who comes to this House for Hajj and avoids all lewdness and sins, he returns as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.”
(Bukhari & Muslim)
This means that whoever performs Hajj correctly without committing any sins has all of their previous sins erased, and he returns home as a child who has never sinned.
“O Amr! Do you not know that embracing Islam washes away all sins committed before it (during disbelief)? And that migration (Hijrah) washes away all sins committed before it. And that Hajj wipes out all sins committed before it”
This means that no matter how big or small your sins were prior to Hajj, performing Hajj will wash them all away.
“A person who circumambulates this House (the Kaaba) seven times and performs the two Rak’at Salat (of Tawaf) in the best form possible will have his sins forgiven.”
Tawaf is one of the Hajj rituals that is basically circumambulating Kaaba seven times while reciting Dua and Azkar. Whoever does that and performs a prayer (Salat of Tawaf) will be forgiven for all his sins
Hajj Is Mentioned In The Quran
The word Hajj is mentioned in Quran 12 times, these are some verses that talks about it:
“Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it.”
Here Allah states the things that are prohibited in Hajj in order to perform it correctly, with the emphasis that Allah knows every good we do during this time.
“In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Ibrahim. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto away. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from the need of the worlds”
That is, whoever enters the place of Ibrahim (Maqam Ibrahim) around the Kaaba is safe and secure due to Allah’s protection. And anyone who is capable of going must submit.
“And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass”
Allah told Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to proclaim Hajj to the people, and they will come to you from every distant location, on foot or on camels.
List Of Hajj Steps
Circumambulating Kaaba 7 Times:
On the first day of Hajj, pilgrims perform Tawaf (circumambulation) in Mecca. This is followed on 8th Dhul-Hijjah before heading to Mina.
Pilgrims usually spend the day in Mina’s tent city and then stay until the next morning. In Mina, pilgrims perform five prayers, beginning with noon prayer (Dhur) and ending with dawn prayer (Fajr).
Spent The Day On Mount Arafat:
On the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, pilgrims arrive in Arafah. Arafat day is the most important day of the entire Hajj process. On this day, pilgrims pray the most to commemorate Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon. They perform Wuquf Arafat in the afternoon, praying and making Duas throughout the day.
Spend The Night In Muzdalifah:
Pilgrims depart for Muzdalifah as the sun begins to set. This is a location where pilgrims gather pebbles for later stoning of the devil (Shaitan). They pray Fajr at dawn and return to Mina before the sun rises.
Stoning The Devil (Shaitan):
Pilgrims throw stones at the pillars on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the longest day of Hajj. On their way back to Mina, pilgrims perform the first “rami”, which consists of throwing seven pebbles at the Jamarat columns.
It is said that the devil tried to discourage Prophet Ibrahim from obeying the command at this location in Mina.
Walk Back-and-forth Seven Times Between Safa And Marwa:
Pilgrims in Mecca walk seven times around the Kaaba and perform the back-and-forth walk (sayy) between the two hills of Safa and Marwa. They then drink from the Zamzam well, which Allah granted to Hagar, Ibrahim’s wife, and which is still flowing today. Pilgrims then make their way back to Mina.
Perform Stoning Of The Devil (Shaitan) For Up To Three Days In Mina:
Pilgrims stay in Mina for two or three days, and on the 11th and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, they stone the devil to each of the three pillars once more. To avoid overcrowding, stoning must be done in accordance with predetermined schedules.
Perform Farewell Tawaf :
Pilgrims return to Mecca after completing this ritual and perform the final Tawaf of Kaaba, known as a Farewell Tawaf in Masjid al-Haram. This is the final day of Hajj. Most pilgrims return home then,
while some of them prefer to visit Madinah to visit its historical and religious locations, including Prophet Muhammad’s mosque.
“What Is The Difference Between Hajj And Umrah?”
Both Hajj and Umrah are pilgrimages that share some rituals. Umrah, like Hajj, is a pilgrimage to Mecca, but unlike Hajj, it is optional rather than mandatory.
Umrah is less important than Hajj because it is not one of the five pillars of Islam. As a result, it is known as the minor pilgrimage. You can perform Umrah any time of the year while Hajj has its specific days.
“What Are The Lessons And Values Learned From Hajj?”
Some of the lessons and values learned from Hajj are equality, unity among Muslims, self-resistance, enduring hardship for Allah’s forgiveness, following the footsteps of our great leaders Ibrahim and Prophet Muhammad, and submitting to Allah’s orders.