||Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage
What does the Quran say about Hajj?
In the Quran, Islam's revealed text, God says: "Thus We settled Abraham
at the site of the House (the Ka'aba) [saying]: 'Do not associate anything
with Me, and purify My house for those who walk around it, and those who
stand there (praying), and those who bow down on their knees in worship.
Proclaim the pilgrimage among mankind: they will come to you on foot and on
every lean (beast of burden); Let them come from every deep ravine, to bear
witness to the advantages they have, and to mention God's name on appointed
days..." Chapter 22, verses 26-28
What do Muslims believe they gain from Hajj?
The main benefit of Hajj for many people is the sense of purification,
repentance and spiritual renewal it instills. After his Hajj, Malcolm X
wrote in his autobiography: "...I have eaten from the same plate, drank
from the same glass, and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug) - while
praying to the same God - with fellow Muslims whose eyes were bluest of the
blue, whose hair was blondest of the blonde and whose skin was whitest of
the white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the
white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among black African
Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana...In the past I permitted myself to be
used to make sweeping indictments of...the entire white race...Because of
the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to receive as a result of
my recent pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to
the sweeping indictments of any one race. I am now striving to live the
life of a true Muslim."
Why does Hajj begin on a different day each year?
Because Dhul-Hijjah is a lunar month, it begins about eleven days
earlier each year
Why do Muslims sacrifice a lamb or other animal during the festival of Eid ul-Adha?
The sacrifice commemorates the Prophet Abraham's readiness to sacrifice
his son, identified in Islam as Ishmael, at God's request. This is not a
blood offering. In the Quran God states: "Neither their meat nor their
blood ever reaches God, but heedfulness on your part does reach Him."
(Chapter 22, verse 37) The meat is distributed to relatives and to the needy.
Is Hajj an obligation on all Muslims?
Yes, but only for those who are physically and financially able to make
What are the most visually striking aspects of the Hajj?
All pilgrims must do tawaf, or circling the Ka'aba. This obligation
creates a stunning scene as thousands of people circle the building at all
times of the day and night. Also, the standing at Arafah on the 9th day of
the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah presents a scene in which several million
people all dressed alike and with the same intention to worship God, gather
on a barren plain.
How should non-Muslim friends and co-workers interact with someone who is going on Hajj or celebrating at home?
Hajj is a high point in a Muslim's life. Questions are welcome and
congratulations are in order. Most communities welcome visitors at Eid
ul-Adha prayers. Just ask a Muslim friend to act as an escort and guide.