Hajj is the pilgrimage in Islam that must be performed by Muslims; capable health wise as well as financially. This is essential for a Muslim Individual at least once in a life time. It is a ritual that believers embark upon for the given set of days; to rise above the routines of daily life in order to connect and get closer to Allah (SWT). The pilgrims endure the trials of the journey by following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and as a mark of remembrance regarding the willing sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his family.

Mostly, the Hajj ritual is performed as part of an obligatory practice that pilgrims learn about; from books, seminars, friends and the immediate family. Now let’s also talk about the Kaabah; the Kaabah is the epicenter of Mecca. The cube shaped building is situated at the heart of the most well-known real estate. Thousands circle the sacred Kaabah at the center of the Haram sanctuary 24 hours a day.

Following are some of the facts you may not know about Hajj and Kabah:

1. According to Ibn Kathir and various oral traditions of Arabia, the Kaaba was first built by Prophet Adam (AS), destroyed during the great flood in Prophet Nuh's (AS) time. Finally, it was rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

2. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) performed only one Hajj during his lifetime. Therefore, the link of performing Hajj at least once.

3. Abdul-Muttalib, the paternal grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), rediscovered the well of Zamzam after it was filled up by the Jurhumites (people of an old Arab tribe) who inhabited Makkah before the dominant tribe; Quraish.

4. Madinah is not one of the core Hajj locations.

5. Both, men and women, dress in the colour white which is known as ihram, during Hajj. This is a symbol of the state of purity they are entering. Changing their clothes is part of the process known as 'assuming Ihram', a sacred state that pilgrims adopt at the beginning of the Hajj.

6. Hateem (Hijr-Ismail) is considered to be a part of Kaaba. Thus, while doing Tawaf, Musims don’t enter the area between the Hateem and Ka’bah.

Hazrat Aisha (RA) reports that when she asked the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) whether the Hateem was part of the Ka’bah, he replied that it was. When she further asked why it was then not included in the walls of the Khana Kaba, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) replied,

“Because your people (the Quraysh) did not have sufficient funds.” [Bukhari]

Hazrat Aisha (RA) also narrated:

"I wanted to enter the House to perform Salat in it, so the Messenger of Allah took me by the hand and put me in the Hijr, and he said: 'Perform Salat in the Hijri if you want to enter the House. For indeed it is part of the House, but your people considered it insignificant when they built the Kaaba, so they put it outside the House.'" [Sahih]

7. Men expose their right shoulder during Tawaaf in order to reenact the display of confidence and power. This act of leaving the right shoulder uncovered is called ‘idtiba’. Moreover, the formidable walk by men during the first three rounds of tawaaf is called ‘ramal’.

The historical meaning of these acts was a display of power and intimidating the opponents. When Makkan Muslims migrated to Madinah, the climate of Madinah affected them; they became a bit weak. When they went to Makkah again after seven years for Umrah, they explained the situation to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Thereupon, he told his Companions to seem powerful to polytheists and to walk formidably when they passed in front of them; and the Companions walked like that.

8. It was the ninth Hijri when Hajj was made obligatory on Muslims.

Well, it’s always good to know some facts about our Holy rituals and places to increase our knowledge at an individual level. We hope this information was beneficial and enhanced your knowledge.

The author

Rida Ghaffar