Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory to perform Hajj at least once in your lifetime, given you have the means of affordability for the pilgrimage. 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).
Hajj 2019 will commence on Friday, 9th of August 2019 and will continue till Wednesday, 14th of August 2019; in the evening time. 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 Holy 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 Muhammad (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 (SWT) mentions the benefits of Hajj as:
“That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor.” (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 faith one should have in Allah(SWT), as shown by Hazrat 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, cow or a camel; remembering the sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim (RA). Prophet Ibrahim (RA) intended to slaughter his son Hazrat Ismail (RA) on Allah’s(SWT) orders, but Allah(SWT) replaced Hazrat Ismail(AS) with a sheep just when Hazrat Ibrahim(AS) was about to go ahead with the sacrifice. This submissive act of faith by Hazrat Ibrahim (RA) is an integral part of Hajj as it signifies trust and total surrender to the will of the Almighty Allah(SWT).
Hajj is meant to be an empowering event in a Muslim’s life and is needed to be performed in a righteous manner prescribed by Allah(SWT) as each act is historically significant and meaningful.
You can read our article on Iqra on some facts about Hajj.