The Hajj

The Hajj, pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj means to attend a journey – meaning both the physical journey and the inward act of intentions. An annual pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims must try and complete once in their lifetime. It is only mandatory for adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of the journey and supporting their family if they remain at home. A pilgrimage made to the Kaaba in Mecca and it shows the solidarity of Muslims and their submission to Allah. The rites of the pilgrimage happen over five or six days during the last month of the Islamic calendar.

The Hajj is thought to be associated with Muhammad’s pilgrimage to Mecca from Medina but pilgrimages for Muslims date as far back as Abraham. Millions of people will join processions and perform a series of rituals – walking counter clockwise seven times around the Kaaba, walking briskly between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times and drinking from the Zamzam well. They will go to the plains of Mount Arafat and stand in vigil, spend a night in the plain of Muzdalifa and perform symbolic stoning of the devil – throwing stones at three pillars. An animal will be sacrificed and they will then shave or trim their hair – women are not expected to shave their hair fully. This is followed by a three day festival – Eid al-Adha which is celebrated by Muslims throughout the world.

During Covid only residents of Saudi have been able to take part in the Hajj in a very limited number.