Hajj – a pilgrimage to Makka

Hajj is a pilgrimage to Makkah. It is one of the five basic duties a Muslim must do; it is also the fifth pillar of Islam. Muslims go on Hajj on the 12th month of the Islamic Calendar. It is between the 18th and 13th of Dull Hijjah. About 2 million Muslims go to Makkah to make the hajj. Makkah is so crowded at this time if the year that Muslims who have already been on Hajj are not encouraged to go again.

Muslims take part in because it is a duty all Muslims must do and they also go because they will have there sins forgiven. On Hajj Muslims have to go to the Great Mosque, the Ka’ba, Mina, Muzdalifah, the plain of Arafat and Mount of Mercy.

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Muslims go to the Ka’bah, which is also known as a Baitullah (the house of Allah). The Ka’bah is a plain, cube shaped building made of blocks. They go to the Ka’bah to pray. Muslims believe that it is the oldest Shrine to God on earth, which was built by Adam, and then rebuilt by Ibrahim and his son Ismail.

At Mina Muslims through stones at pillars which represent the place where Ibrahim and his family faced temptation by the Devil. At Muzdalifah Muslims camp on there journey between Arafat and Makkah. They pick up pebbles to hurl at the pillars of Mina. Muslims then go to have their sins forgiven. When Muslims go to Makkah they must enter the state if Ihram. This means they must concentrate totally on worship and prayer. Men must wear two sheets of plain white cloth, one which is wrapped around the waist, and the other over the left shoulder, women, must wear plain garments that cover them, leaving the hands and face bare. All Muslims must dress the same to symbolize that they are equal before God.

The things that Muslims must and must not do on a Hajj are :

* Do not be dishonest or arrogant.

* Do not think about the opposite sex.

* Men must not wear jewellery.

* No one should use perfume.

* Men must not cover their head.

* Women are not allowed to cover their faces.

* No one is allowed to cut his or her hair or fingernails {because they must not interface with nature].

* To show love for nature for nature, no plants may be pulled up or trees cut down.

* To express simplicity, everyone must go bare foot or wear open sandals.

* To show unity with God creatures, no animals must be killed.

Muslims must not show aggression.

Once in the state of ihram, pilgrims must not worry over their personal appearance. They must be mindful of Allah’s laws, and must avoid all violence. Muslims must not treat the pilgrimage as a sacrifice to Allah, and must avoid any sexual relationships; during the time of Hajj they must devote themselves wholly to Allah for this intense period of their lives. This is expressed in the frequent pilgrim calls of proudly at your service O God.

The significance of the events of Hajj is shown in many ways. The males pilgrims must wear two white cloths during the pilgrimage and it symbolizes the universal equality of people before their creator. The Ka’ba symbolizes Gods House and his nearness. The Black Stone embedded in one of its four corners symbolizes Gods right hand, the kissing of which symbolizes ones pledge of faith to ones King and his law on earth. Drinking the spring water from the well of Zamzam gives a foretaste of the pure waters of paradise.

The running between the hills retraces the frantic steps of Hagar, looking for water in the desert to save the life of her son Ismail. The standing on the plain of Arafat symbolizes the station of mankind awaiting judgement on the day of resurrection. There are a lot of difficulties which a Muslim might face going on Hajj. People might feel discomfort, sickness the heat in which they cannot cover their heads for shelter, Makkah will be overcrowded, people will be pushing and shoving each other in trying to get to the places they are going. Also they are no luxuries the rich will probably suffer the most because at home they have big houses and on their pilgrimage they have to live in a tent.

Visiting Hajj will affect your life as a believer. People might feel joy on having reached The House of Allah. People might forget their problems and worries by going o Hajj, sharper awareness of the brevity of life. People might feel on going back to Makkah, some might want to teach the teaching of Muhammad on to the younger generation.

I agree that a true pilgrimage is a journey within because Muslims who go on Hajj need to go with the right attitude and the intentions of there is no point of them going because they do not have the intention and the state of mind on going on Hajj. However those who cannot go because of money or other circumstances Allah understands as he knows and sees all. Muslims should always ask for forgiveness and seek mercy of Allah through Salat and Sawm. Muslims should go on Hajj as they are showing Allah they are doing the 5th pillar of Islam.

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