What is the Hajj? The significance of Pilgrimage in Islam
Hajj is one of the religious obligation offered by the Muslims at a specific period of time. It is mandatory for the Muslims to perform it once in their life if they are capable to bear the expenses and are physically fit. Muslims visit Makah and Madinah in order to perform the holy obligation. People try to get their hands on Hajj Packages in order to complete their travel arrangements.
The purpose of Hajj
The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all physical fit Muslims are required to perform it at least for once in their life. The Hajj is an opportunity for the Muslim to get forgiveness of Allah Almighty for the sins they have committed in their life until now. Those who cannot afford the Hajj Packages are sometimes helped by the charities or community leaders while some people save money to make this holy journey.
Importance of Kaaba to Muslims
According to the Islamic history the Kaaba was constructed b Hazart Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail as a house of Allah Almighty thousands of years ago. Over the years, the Khana Kaaba was reconstructed and it attracted different kinds of pilgrims that includes early Christians who once lived in the Arabian Peninsula. According to pre-Islamic history, the Khana Kaaba was used to place Idol by the local tribes for worship. Khana Kaaba is not a place for the Muslims to worship but in the Islamic religion it is the most sacred site because it represents the metaphorical house of Allah Almighty and shows the oneness of Allah Almighty in Islam. Muslims around the globe turn their face toward the Khana Kaaba during offering prayers five time a day.
Rituals Performed during Hajj
When Pilgrims go for Hajj they enter in a state of spiritual purity known as "ihram" that is aimed to prevent oneself from worldly pleasures and just focusing on the inner self .Women do not use makeup, perfume ,wear loose-fitting clothing and a head covering, while men wear two pair of plain white clothes. The white cloth should not have any stitching this restriction is made so that everyone should wear a same cloth instead of different elaborate cloth by the wealthy pilgrims. Muslims are forbidden from engage there selves in sexual intercourse, cutting their hair or trimming nails while in ihram. It is also forbidden for pilgrims to argue, fight or lose their tempers being in that state. A large crowd and physical exhaustion during the journey test pilgrims' patience and tolerance. In order to have a problem free traveling people look for Cheap Hajj Packages.
The first day of Hajj
Hajj rituals begins in Makkah, with a smaller pilgrimage termed as "Umrah", which can be performed at any time of the year. To perform the Umrah, Muslims circle the Khana Kaaba in anti-clock wise direction seven times while reciting supplications to God, then the second step is to walk between the two hills named as Safa and Marwa seven times back and forth. Makkah Grand Mosque, the world's largest, encompasses the Khana Kaaba and the two hills.
The second day of Hajj
Pilgrims spend night at the place named as Mina where 160,000 tents are set up to provide shelter to pilgrims during their stay and after that they head to Mount Arafat, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) located in east of Makkah. Pilgrims spend their day at Arafat to pray all the day. There is a hill named as Jabal al-Rahma, said to be mountain of mercy, in Arafat. It is the place where Hazrat Muhammad delivered his last sermon describing the equality and Muslim unity. He told his followers about women's rights and that every Muslim life and property is sacred.
Near sunset, pilgrims head to an area named as Muzdalifah situated at nine kilometers (5.5 miles) west of Arafat. Many of the pilgrims walk, while others use the buses. Pilgrims spend the night there and collect pebbles in their way that will be used in a symbolic stoning of the devil back in Mina, where Muslims believe the devil tried to convince Hazrat Ibrahim to disobey the Allah Almighty command.
The final three days of Hajj
The last three days of the Hajj includes three events: a final circling of the Kaaba, casting stones in Mina and removing the ihram. Men shave their heads at the end as sign to start a new life. The last days of Hajj concide with Eid al-Adha this Muslim festival is also termed as festival of sacrifice, celebrated by Muslims around the world to commemorate Hazrat Ibrahim's test of faith by Allah Almighty to sacrifice his son but later Allah send a ram instead. During the three-day of Eid, Muslims sacrifice livestock and distribute the meat to the poor and needy in the society. People also prefer to travel in group so they can get their hand on Cheapest Hajj Packages in order to meet their expenses.