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Hajj حج

What is Hajj حج?

Hajj is the sacred pilgrimage performed by Muslims at the holy mosque of Masjid al-Haram  مسجد الحرام  in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, which means that it is obliged of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime (so long as they have the means). Hajj takes place during the same period each year – during the month of Dhul Hijjah ذوالحج , the twelfth month in the Islamic Calendar. Hajj begins on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah and lasts until the 13th of Dhul Hijjah.As Muslims, undertaking Hajj in Islam – is a spiritual duty, as long as we are financially, physically, and emotionally able to do so.

In the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) commands Muslims to take this sacred journey:

لَّقَدْ صَدَقَ اللَّهُ رَسُولَهُ الرُّؤْيَا بِالْحَقِّ ۖ لَتَدْخُلُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ آمِنِينَ مُحَلِّقِينَ رُءُوسَكُمْ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لَا تَخَافُونَ ۖ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا فَجَعَلَ مِن دُونِ ذَٰلِكَ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا

“Truly did Allah fulfil the vision for His Messenger. ye shall enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah wills, with minds secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. For He knew what ye knew not, and He granted, besides this, a speedy victory.”

Surah Al-Fat-h, Ayah 27

While it is only required of Muslims to perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetimes, it can be performed multiple times which is not mandatory.

How Long Does Hajj Last?

The Hajj pilgrimage is performed over five to six days, from the 8th to 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah. When the new crescent moon is sighted, Eid al-Adha begins, which lasts for four days.

The pilgrimage is comprised of a series of rites and rituals, some of which must be performed in order. It can be physically demanding, as pilgrims are required to travel between locations throughout, and can walk on average between 5km-15km per day. Performing Hajj is a test of patience and temperament – it is a spiritual, emotional, and physical challenge, it can take some preparation and for many, it is a once in a lifetime event.

However, it offers Muslims the opportunity to refresh their spiritual selves, to cleanse them of their sins and draw closer to Allah (SWT).

Does Hajj Occur On The Same Dates Every Year?

Yes, Hajj takes place between the same dates each year. Hajj takes place between the 8th and the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah each year, depending on the sighting of the moon.

Dhul Hijjah is the twelfth month in the Islamic calendar and holds some of the most sacred periods of the entire Islamic calendar. Dates in the Islamic calendar appear to shift forward approximately 11-12 days as it corresponds to the Gregorian calendar, as the Islamic Calendar operates on the lunar cycle.

Hajj consists of its own unique rites and rituals but does share some similarities with the rites and rituals of Umrah. Umrah is a voluntary pilgrimage, which can be performed during any time of the year.

Where Does The Hajj Take Place?

Hajj is performed in Makkah, modern day Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage consists of a series of rites and rituals across five to six days and is performed across several locations within the vicinity of Makkah.

These locations include:

  • The city of Makkah
  • The tent settlement of Mina
  • Mount ‘Arafah
  • Muzdalifah

Who Is Excluded From Hajj?

It is required of every Muslim to perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime. However, the Hajj is not intended as a burden upon Muslims, and Muslims are only required to perform Hajj so long as it is within their capacity.