Hajj - The Fifth Pillar of Islam
The final pillar of Islam, which makes up the very core of the foundation of Islam, is Hajj – the sacred pilgrimage. It is one of the five tasks that Allah (SWT) has made obligatory upon all Muslims as an act of showing commitment to the Islamic faith.
Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to the city of Makkah in the sacred Month of Dhul-Hijjah, which is mandatory for all Muslims who can afford it financially and physically.
“And Hajj to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah (SWT), those who can afford the expenses; and whoever disbelieves, then he is a disbeliever of Allah (SWT), then Allah (SWT) stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)” (Surah Imran: 97)
Hajj is performed by millions of Muslims around the globe, who come together to worship the Almighty and stand as one ummah, every year. Hajj requires every individual to leave behind their status, class, culture, ethnicity and stand in front of Allah (SWT) as equals - no man is superior or inferior in the House of Allah (SWT) or in the eyes of Allah (SWT). It instills a sense of brotherhood and unity amongst the Ummah and redirects them towards the greater purpose of this world – to worship Allah (SWT).
This visitation to the House of Allah (SWT) and carrying out the proper rituals of the pilgrimage in the prescribed manner incurs the forgiveness and mercy of Allah (SWT). According to the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
“Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of Allah (SWT) and does not utter any obscene speech or do any evil deed, will go back (free of sin) as his mother bore him.” (Bukhari, 1449)
Muslims are required to enter the sacred House of Allah (SWT), the Holy Ka’bah, in a state of purity known as ‘ihram’ where they have to perform certain cleansing rituals and wear the designated attire – men wear two simple pieces of cloth whereas women wear any clothing that covers everything except their face and hands.
Every pilgrim needs to adhere to certain Hajj etiquettes throughout the pilgrimage, which includes being sincere in one’s intention to perform Hajj for the sake of Allah (SWT), financing your Hajj 2018 using ‘halaal’ wealth, restraining from engaging in acts disliked by Allah (SWT) and staying away from everything that can somehow invalidate the pilgrimage.
Once the Hajj is performed in the prescribed correct manner laid out by Allah (SWT), it ends with the celebration of the festival of Eid-ul-Azha 2018, where Muslims sacrifice animals in the name of Allah (SWT) and His Majesty.