Hajj 2024: A Brief Guide Into The Islamic Pilgrimage

Hera Shabbir

Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime, provided they are physically and financially capable. The pilgrimage occurs during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, which this year falls around June, attracting millions of Muslims worldwide.

This guide gives a brief insight into the steps and rituals done in order to complete the full Islamic pilgrimage 

Hajj is a profound spiritual journey that requires preparation, patience, and devotion. By following these guidelines, you can have a meaningful and fulfilling pilgrimage.

The overall steps of Hajj summed up are below:

  1. Ihram
  2. Tawaf and Sa’i
  3. Mount Arafat Journey
  4. Muzdalifah Journey *collecting pebbles
  5. Ramy Al Jamarat *stoning of devil
  6. Half and Taqsir *shaving of head/hair
  7. Eid Al Adha Sacrifice
  8. Tawaf Al Ifadah
  9. Repeat Stoning
  10. Farewell Tawaf

Pilgrims first must enter Ihram before reaching the holy site of Makkah for Tawaf

Before reaching Makkah, pilgrims are required to be in the state of Ihram by wearing the special garments and reciting the Takbiyah prayer. Upon arrival in Makkah, pilgrims perform Tawaf, which involves circling the Kaaba seven times in a counterclockwise direction. They then walk seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, emulating Hagar’s search for water for her son Ishmael.

Pilgrims then move towards Mount Arafat, a significant landmark in Islam

After completing the Umrah journey, Muslims then make their way to Minah where they camp and spend a day in Mount Arafat. It was said that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) actually delivered his Farewell Sermon at this mountain near Makkah city.

Muslims then make their way to Muzdalifa to collect pebbles and complete the symbolic stoning of the devil

After sunset, pilgrims then head to Muzadalifah (located between Mina and Mount Arafat) to observe the evening prayers and rest the night until Fajr prayers. They then participate in Ramy al-Jamarat, back in Mina, after they’ve gathered stones to throw on three pillars, symbolizing the rejection of evil. This process is usually done for three days.

All pilgrims are then required to leave for Makkah before sunset on the 12th day of Dhu’l Hijjah.

Pilgrims then participate in the Eid sacrifice

Muslims then gather to participate in the sacrificial offering, which is one per family, or split among others, commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. The meat is then distributed to the needy.

Halq or Taqsir: Symbolizing Devotion

Men are required to either completely shave their heads (Halq) or clip their hair (Taqsir). Women, however, are only permitted to clip a lock or strand of their hair, as shaving is not required. Pilgrims then go ahead and complete another Circumambulation of the Kaaba and Saih (7 rounds between the Safah and Marwa mountains).

Repeat Stoning at Mina After Sunset on the 11th and 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah

The stoning ritual is then repeated by throwing pebbles at two additional pillars, Jamrat Oolah (the first Jamrat) and Jamrat Wustah (the middle Jamrat), besides Jamrat al-Aqabah. Pilgrims face the Jamarah (main pillar), with Mecca on their left and Mina on their right, and stone it with seven small pebbles while reciting Takbeer.

Perform the Farewell Tawaf

The final step is the Farewell Tawaf, where pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba anti-clockwise seven times. During this ritual, they reflect on their journey and express gratitude to Allah.

The Saudi government excels in orchestrating the annual Hajj pilgrimage, efficiently managing millions of pilgrims with remarkable precision. Their comprehensive planning ensures safety, comfort, and a deeply spiritual experience for all. State-of-the-art infrastructure, healthcare facilities, and seamless crowd control highlight their dedication, showcasing Saudi Arabia’s unparalleled commitment to serving the global Muslim community during this sacred journey.

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