Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory to perform Hajj at least once in your lifetime.
Hajj 2018 will commence on Sunday, 19th of August 2018 and will continue till Friday, 24th of August 2018. This is the tentative date as the actual date is contingent on the sighting of the moon of Dhul Hijjah.
According to the Islamic Calendar, Muslim Pilgrimage begins on the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah and ends on the thirteenth day of the same Islamic month. There are many rituals in the performance of Hajj and these may be completed over the course of the 5 days. Every year, millions Muslims participate in this holy pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
At the time of Prophet (PBUH), Hajj was made compulsory for the Muslims to perform once in their lifetime. The overarching aim of the Hajj is to strengthen one's faith and purify him or her of sins. Allah mentions the benefits of Hajj as:
“That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the name of Allah on appointed days over the beast of cattle that He has bestowed upon them. Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor unfortunate.” (Quran 22:28)
The rites of Hajj (Islamic Pilgrimage) were laid down in current form by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). These rituals signify the sacrifices and the complete submission to Allah (SWT) by Prophet Ibrahim (RA). Thereafter, every act performed in Hajj, from performing Tawaaf and Saa’i to stoning the wall of Satan, is the reminder of the faith one should have in Allah, as shown by Ibrahim (RA).
In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (PBUH) also mentioned the significance of Hajj:
“Allah’s Apostle was asked, ‘What is the best deed?’ He replied, ‘To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad)’. The questioner then asked, ‘What is the next (in goodness)?’ He replied, ‘To participate in Jihad in Allah's Cause.’ The questioner again asked, ‘What is the next (in goodness)?’ He replied, ‘To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) 'Mubrur, (which is accepted by Allah and is performed with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure only and not to show off and without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet).” (Bukhari 2:25)
On the 10th of Dhul Hijja, Eid al Adha is celebrated. It is the day when Muslims slaughter an animal, generally a sheep, a goat or a camel, remembering the sacrifice of Ibrahim (RA). Ibrahim (RA) intended to slaughter his son Ismail (RA) on Allah’s orders, but Allah replaced Ismail with a sheep just when Ibrahim was about to go ahead with the sacrifice. This submissive act of faith by Ibrahim (RA) as an integral part of Hajj as it signifies trust and total surrender to the will of the Almighty.
Hajj is meant to be an empowering event in a Muslim’s life, thereafter, it is needed to be performed in a manner prescribed by Allah as each act is historically significant and meaningful.
Frequently asked questions
- Q When is Hajj 2018?
A Hajj will start on Sunday, 19th of August 2018 and will continue till Friday, 24th of August 2018 tentatively. The actual date is contingent on the sighting of the moon.
- Q What is a pilgrimage?
A A pilgrimage is a journey one takes for spiritual purposes, usually to a holy place. Muslims visit the Holy city of Makka, Saudi Arabia to perform pilgrimage. In Islam, pilgrimage is of two kinds; Umrah and Hajj. Umrah is optional while Hajj is mandatory and must be performed by each Muslim at least once in a lifetime, granted he/she has the necessary resources.
- Q How many days of Hajj are there?
A Hajj begins on the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah and ends on the thirteenth day of the same Islamic month. There are many rituals in the performance of Hajj and these may be completed over the course of the 5 days.
- Q Where is the Hajj from?
A The rites of Hajj were laid down in current form by the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and these rituals signify the sacrifices and the complete submission to Allah, that Ibrahim (RA) made. The performance of Hajj is not meant to be an arbitrary exercise - the rituals of Hajj are meant to be performed in the exact manner as they are prescribed. Allah says in Surah Baqarah: “And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Hajj and Umrah for Allah” (Quran 2:196)