Pilgrims at the Great Mosque of Mecca on Hajj in 2010
|Location(s)||Makkah (Saudi Arabia)|
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The Hajj ( // ; Arabic : حَجّḤaǧǧ "pilgrimage"; sometimes also spelt Hadj, Hadji or Haj in English) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. The pilgrimage, which lasts approximately 5 to 6 days depending on the lunar Islamic calendar, is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.
The literal meaning of the word Hajj is known to be "heading to a place for the sake of visiting". In Islamic terminology, Hajj is a pilgrimage made to the Kaaba, the "House of Allah", in the sacred city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The rites of Hajj are performed over five or six days, beginning on the eighth day and ending on the thirteenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm. The Hajj is the second largest annual gathering of Muslims in the world, after the Arba'een Pilgrimage in Karbala, Iraq. The state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita'ah, and a Muslim who fulfills this condition is called a mustati. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah). The word Hajj means "to attend a journey", which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions.
The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day (or in some cases 13th) of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year. In 2020 CE (1441 AH), Dhu al-Hijjah extends from 22 July to 19 August.
Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which pilgrims wear two white sheets of seamless cloth and abstain from certain actions.
The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century AD, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham. During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of millions of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba (a cube-shaped building and the direction of prayer for Muslims), trots (walks briskly) back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times, then drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spends a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and performs symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars. After the sacrifice of an animal (can be accomplished by using a voucher (see below)), the Pilgrims then are required to either shave or trim their heads (male) or trim the ends of their hair (female). A celebration of the three-day global festival of Eid al-Adha proceeds thereafter.
Muslims may also undertake an Umrah (Arabic : عُمرَة), or "lesser pilgrimage" to Mecca at other times of the year. But this is not a substitute for the Hajj and Muslims are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some other point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so.
In 2017, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj was officially reported as 1,752,014 and 600,108 Saudi Arabian residents bringing the total number of pilgrims to 2,352,122.
In June 2020, while not canceling the Hajj outright, the Saudi Government announced that they would only welcome "very limited numbers" of pilgrims are residents of Saudi Arabia due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter in Arabic : حج [ħædʒ, ħæɡ] similar to the Hebrew : חגḥag [χaɡ] , which means "holiday", from the triliteral Semitic root ח-ג-ג. The meaning of the verb is "to circle, to go around". Judaism uses circumambulation in the Hakafot ritual during Hoshanah Rabbah at the end of the Festival of Sukkot and on Simchat Torah; traditionally, Jewish brides circumambulate their grooms during the wedding ceremony under the chuppah. From this custom, the root was borrowed for the familiar meaning of holiday, celebration and festivity. In the Temple, every festival would bring a sacrificial feast. Similarly in Islam, the person who commits the Hajj to Mecca has to circle around the Kaaba and to offer sacrifices.
The present pattern of Hajj was established by Muhammad.However, according to the Quran, elements of Hajj trace back to the time of Abraham. According to Islamic tradition, Abraham was ordered by God to leave his wife Hajar and his son Ishmael alone in the desert of ancient Mecca. In search of water, Hajara desperately ran seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah but found none. Returning in despair to Ishmael, she saw the baby scratching the ground with his leg and a water fountain sprang forth underneath his foot. Later, Abraham was commanded to build the Kaaba (which he did with the help of Ishmael) and to invite people to perform pilgrimage there. The Quran refers to these incidents in verses 2:124–127 and 22:27–30. It is said that the archangel Gabriel brought the Black Stone from Heaven to be attached to the Kaaba.
In pre-Islamic Arabia, a time known as jahiliyyah , the Kaaba became surrounded by pagan idols.In 630 AD, Muhammad led his followers from Medina to Mecca, cleansed the Kaaba by destroying all the pagan idols, and then consecrated the building to Allah. In 632 AD, Muhammad performed his only and last pilgrimage with a large number of followers, and instructed them on the rites of Hajj. It was from this point that Hajj became one of the five pillars of Islam.
During medieval times, pilgrims would gather in the big cities of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq to go to Mecca in groups and caravans comprising tens of thousands of pilgrims,often under state patronage. Hajj caravans, particularly with the advent of the Mamluk Sultanate and its successor, the Ottoman Empire, were escorted by a military force accompanied by physicians under the command of an amir al-hajj . This was done to protect the caravan from Bedouin robbers or natural hazards, and to ensure that the pilgrims were supplied with the necessary provisions. Muslim travelers like Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Battuta have recorded detailed accounts of Hajj-travels of medieval time. The caravans followed well-established routes called in Arabic darb al-hajj, lit. "pilgrimage road", which usually followed ancient routes such as the King's Highway.
The date of Hajj is determined by the Islamic calendar (known as Haji calendar or AH), which is based on the lunar year.Every year, the events of Hajj take place in a ten-day period, starting on 1 and ending on 10 Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and last month of the Islamic calendar. Among these ten days, the 9th Dhul-Hijjah is known as Day of Arafah, and this day is called the day of Hajj. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date for Hajj changes from year to year. Thus, each year in the Gregorian calendar, the pilgrimage starts eleven days (sometimes ten days) earlier. This makes it possible for the Hajj season to fall twice in one Gregorian year, and it does so every 33 years. The last time this phenomenon occurred was 2006.
The table below shows the Gregorian dates of Hajj of recent years (the dates correspond to 9 Dhul-Hijjah of Hijri calendar). Prospective dates are approximate:
|1432||2011, 5 November|
|1433||2012, 25 October|
|1434||2013, 14 October|
|1435||2014, 3 October|
|1436||2015, 23 September|
|1437||2016, 11 September|
|1438||2017, 31 August|
|1439||2018, 20 August|
|1440||2019, 10 August|
|1441||2020, 30 July|
|1442||2021, 19 July|
|1443||2022, 8 July|
Fiqh literature describes in detail the manners of carrying out the rites of Hajj, and pilgrims generally follow handbooks and expert guides to successfully fulfill the requirements of Hajj.In performing the rites of Hajj, the pilgrims not only follow the model of Muhammad, but also commemorate the events associated with Abraham.
When the pilgrims reach the appropriate Miqat (depending on where they have come from), they are believed to enter into a state of holiness – known as Ihram – that consists of wearing two white seamless cloths for the male, with one wrapped around the waist reaching below the knee and the other draped over the left shoulder and tied at the right side; wearing ordinary dress for the female that fulfills the Islamic condition of public dress with hands and face uncovered; [ page needed ] taking ablution; refraining from certain activities such as clipping the nails, shaving any part of the body, having sexual relations; using perfumes, damaging plants, killing animals, covering head (for men) or the face and hands (for women); getting married; or carrying weapons. The Ihram is meant to show equality of all pilgrims in front of God, with no difference between the rich and the poor.
Donning such unsewn white garments entirely is believed to distance man from material ostentation, and engross him in a world of purity and spirituality, since clothes are believed to show individuality and distinction and create superficial barriers that separate individuals. The garments of Ihram are seen as the antithesis of that individualism. Ihram clothing is also a reminder of shrouds worn after death.
On the 8th Dhu al-Hijjah, the pilgrims are reminded of their duties. They again don the Ihram garments and confirm their intention to make the pilgrimage. The prohibitions of Ihram start now.
The 8th day of Dhu al-Hijjah coincides with the Tarwiyah Day. The name of Tarwiyah refers to a narration of Ja'far al-Sadiq. He described the reason that there was any water at Mount Arafat in the 8th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. If pilgrims wanted to stay at Arafat, he would have prepared water from Mecca and carried it by themselves to there. So they told each other drink enough. Finally, this day called Tarwiyahthat means to quench thirst in the Arabic language. The Tarwiyah Day is the first day of Hajj ritual. Also at this day, Husayn ibn Ali began to go to Karbala from Mecca. Muhammad nominated to Tarwiyah Day as one of the four chosen days.
The ritual of Tawaf involves walking seven times counterclockwise around the Kaaba. : المَسجِد الحَرَام, The Sacred Mosque), pilgrims perform an arrival tawaf either as part of Umrah or as a welcome tawaf. During tawaf, pilgrims also include Hateem – an area at the north side of the Kaaba – inside their path. Each circuit starts with the kissing or touching of the Black Stone (Hajar al- Aswad). If kissing or touching the stone is not possible because of crowds, pilgrims may simply point towards the stone with their hand on each circuit. Eating is not permitted but the drinking of water is permitted and encouraged, because of the risk of dehydration. Men are encouraged to perform the first three circuits at a hurried pace, known as Ramal, and the following four at a more leisurely pace. [ page needed ]Upon arriving at Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (Arabic
The completion of Tawaf is followed by two Rakaat prayers at the Place of Abraham (Muqam Ibrahim), a site near the Kaaba inside the mosque.However, again because of large crowds during the days of Hajj, they may instead pray anywhere in the mosque. After prayer, pilgrims also drink water from the Zamzam well, which is made available in coolers throughout the Mosque.
Although the circuits around the Kaaba are traditionally done on the ground level, Tawaf is now also performed on the first floor and roof of the mosque because of the large crowds.
This rite is said to be the manifestation of Tawhid, the Oneness of God. The heart and soul of the pilgrim should move around Kaaba, the symbol of the House of Allah, in a way that no worldly attraction distracts him from this path. Only Tawhid should attract him. Tawaf also represents Muslims' unity. During Tawaf, everyone encircles Kaaba collectively.
Tawaf is followed by sa'ay, running or walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, located near the Kaaba.Previously in open air, the place is now entirely enclosed by the Sacred Mosque, and can be accessed via air-conditioned tunnels. Pilgrims are advised to walk the circuit, though two green pillars mark a short section of the path where they run. There is also an internal "express lane" for elderly or disabled people. After sa'ay, male pilgrims shave or trim their hair and women generally clip a portion of their hair, which completes the Umrah.
After the morning prayer on the 8th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the pilgrims proceed to Mina where they spend the whole day and offer noon (Note: On Friday, Friday Prayer is Offered, instead of Dhuhr Prayer, at Mina), afternoon, evening, and night prayers.The next morning after morning prayer, they leave Mina to go to Arafat.
The 9th Dhul-Hijjah is known as Day of Arafah, and this day is called the Day of Hajj.
On 9th Dhu al-Hijjah before noon, pilgrims arrive at Arafat, a barren and plain land some 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Mecca, where they stand in contemplative vigil: they offer supplications, repent on and atone for their past sins, and seek mercy of God, and listen to sermon from the Islamic scholars who deliver it from near Jabal al-Rahmah (The Mount of Mercy) from where Muhammad is said to have delivered his last sermon. Lasting from noon through sunset, this is known as 'standing before God' (wuquf), one of the most significant rites of Hajj. At Masjid al-Namirah , pilgrims offer noon and afternoon prayers together at noon time. A pilgrim's Hajj is considered invalid if they do not spend the afternoon on Arafat.
Pilgrims must leave Arafat for Muzdalifah after sunset without praying maghrib (sunset) prayer at Arafat.Muzdalifah is an area between Arafat and Mina. Upon reaching there, pilgrims perform Maghrib and Isha prayer jointly, spend the night praying and sleeping on the ground with open sky, and gather pebbles for the next day's ritual of the stoning of the Devil (Shaytan).
After returning from Muzdalifah, the Pilgrims spend the night at Mina.
Back at Mina, the pilgrims perform symbolic stoning of the devil (Ramy al-Jamarat) by throwing seven stones from sunrise to sunset at only the largest of the three pillars, known as Jamrat al-Aqabah. [ self-published source? ] The remaining two pillars (jamarah) are not stoned on this day. These pillars are said to represent Satan. Pilgrims climb ramps to the multi-levelled Jamaraat Bridge, from which they can throw their pebbles at the jamarat. Because of safety reasons, in 2004 the pillars were replaced by long walls, with catch basins below to collect the pebbles.
After the casting of stones, animals are slaughtered to commemorate the story of Ibrahim and Ismael. Traditionally the pilgrims slaughtered the animal themselves, or oversaw the slaughtering. Today many pilgrims buy a sacrifice voucher in Mecca before the greater Hajj begins, which allows an animal to be slaughtered in the name of God (Allah) on the 10th, without the pilgrim being physically present. Modern abattoirs complete the processing of the meat, which is then sent as charity to poor people around the world.At the same time as the sacrifices occur at Mecca, Muslims worldwide perform similar sacrifices, in a three-day global festival called Eid al-Adha.
After sacrificing an animal, another important rite of Hajj is shaving head or trimming hair (known as Halak). All male pilgrims shave their head or trim their hair on the day of Eid al Adha and women pilgrims cut the tips of their hair.
On the same or the following day, the pilgrims re-visit the Sacred Mosque in Mecca for another tawaf, known as Tawaf al-Ifadah, an essential part of Hajj.It symbolizes being in a hurry to respond to God and show love for Him, an obligatory part of the Hajj. The night of the 10th is spent back at Mina.
Starting from noon to sunset on the 11 Dhu al-Hijjah (and again the following day), the pilgrims again throw seven pebbles at each of the three pillars in Mina. This is commonly known as the "Stoning of the Devil".
On 12 Dhu al-Hijjah, the same process of stoning of the pillars as of 11 Dhu al-Hijjah takes place.Pilgrims may leave Mina for Mecca before sunset on the 12th
If unable to leave on the 12th before sunset or opt to stay longer, they must perform the stoning ritual again on the 13th before returning to Mecca.
Finally, before leaving Mecca, pilgrims perform a farewell tawaf called the Tawaf al-Wadaa. 'Wadaa' means 'to bid farewell'. The pilgrims circle the Kaaba seven times counter-clockwise, and if they can, attempt to touch or kiss the Kaaba.
Though not a part of Hajj, pilgrims may choose to travel to the city of Medina (approximately 450 kilometres (280 mi) to the northeast) and the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet), which contains Muhammad's tomb. The Quba Mosque and Masjid al-Qiblatayn are also usually visited.
Most of the Hajj related issues are handled by Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Making necessary arrangements each year for the growing number of pilgrims poses a logistic challenge for the government of Saudi Arabia, which has, since the 1950s, spent more than $100 billion to increase pilgrimage facilities. Major issues like housing, transportation, sanitation, and health care have been addressed and improved greatly by the government by introducing various development programs, with the result that pilgrims now enjoy modern facilities and perform various rites at ease. The Saudi government often sets quotas for various countries to keep the pilgrims' number at a manageable level, and arranges huge security forces and CCTV cameras to maintain overall safety during Hajj. Various institutions and government programs, such as the Haj subsidy offered in Pakistan or the Tabung Haji based in Malaysia assist pilgrims in covering the costs of the journey. For the 2014 Hajj, special Hajj information desks were set up at Pakistani airports to assist the pilgrims.
The Saudi government employs technology to protect the safety, and enhance the experience, of the pilgrim's journey. Recently, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has introduced the Hajj pilgrims' e-bracelet program that stores pilgrims essential data which helps to provide them with the necessary support.In 2018, SAFCSP organized the Hajj Hackathon event in Jeddah, west of Saudi Arabia, with 2,950 participants from over 100 countries. The event aims at exploring the use of technology to provide solutions for Hajj pilgrims. In 2019, the "Fatwa Robot" service was launched to provide pilgrims with fatwas and other religious advice. Two interactive apps were launched by Hajj authorities to provide pilgrims with a range of services through their smartphones. The services, which are available in nine languages, help pilgrims in finding emergency service centers, holy sites, currency exchanges, restaurants, and accommodation.
To enter Saudi Arabia to participate in the Hajj as a Muslim, visa requirements have to be satisfied.Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is planning to ease visas issuance by enabling Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to obtain e-visa within minutes through campaigns and companies. For the upcoming Umrah season, Umra visas can be electronically issued within 24 hours via a special platform established by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah. For passengers traveling from the United States, they must purchase a package from a licensed Hajj agency. People from other Arab Gulf (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries do not need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia and vice versa. People with Saudi visas are not allowed to enter the Hajj unless they are a Muslim.
Makkah Route Initiative is an initiative made by the Saudi government to facilitate the pilgrims entries to Saudi Arabia by completing it in the airports of their countries. The initiative has been implemented since 2018 by The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.In 2019, the initiative is planned to provide service to around 225,000 pilgrims from airports in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tunisia. The provided services include:
In 2019, Saudi Arabia launched an environment-friendly hajj initiative. The project is implemented in 30 camps in Mina where pilgrims are encouraged to sort out their wastes. Moreover, the proceeds are used for charitable purposes.The project has a number of objectives as follows:
Traditionally, the pilgrimage to Mecca was mainly an overland journey using camels as a means of transport. During the second half of the nineteenth century (after the 1850s), steamships began to be used in the pilgrimage journey to Mecca, and the number of pilgrims traveling on sea routes increased.This continued for some time, until air travel came to predominate; Egypt introduced the first airline service for Hajj pilgrims in 1937. Today, many airlines and travel agents offer Hajj packages, and arrange for transportation and accommodation for the pilgrims. King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Medina have dedicated pilgrim terminals to assist with the large numbers of pilgrims. Other international airports around the world, such as Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, Jinnah in Karachi and Soekarno-Hatta in Jakarta also have dedicated terminals or temporary facilities to service pilgrims as they depart for the Hajj and return home. During Hajj, many airlines run extra flights to accommodate the large number of pilgrims.
During official Hajj days, pilgrims travel between the different locations by metro, bus or on foot. The Saudi government strictly controls vehicles access into these heavily congested areas. However, the journey can take many hours due to heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In 2010, the Saudi government started operating the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro line as an exclusive shuttle train for pilgrims between Arafat, Muzdalifa and Mina. The service, which operates only during the days of Hajj, shortens the travel time during the critical "Nafrah" from Arafat to Muzdalifah to minutes. Due to its limited capacity, the use of the metro is not open to all pilgrims.
Pilgrim numbers have greatly increased in recent years, which has led to numerous accidents and deaths due to overcrowding. The first major accident during Hajj in modern times occurred in 1990, when a tunnel stampede led to the death of 1,462 people.Afterwards, various crowd-control techniques were adopted to improve safety. Because of large crowds, some of the rituals have become more symbolic. For example, it is no longer necessary to kiss the Black Stone. Instead, pilgrims simply point at it on each circuit around the Kaaba. Also, the large pillars used for pebble throwing were changed into long walls in 2004 with basins below to catch the stones. Another example is that animal sacrifice is now done at slaughterhouses appointed by the Saudi authorities, without the pilgrims being present there. In the 70s and 80s, a number of deaths occurred, this was because of a stampede or a siege.
For the Hajj in 2016, Saudi authorities will also be giving pilgrims GPS-tracked electronic bracelets. [ needs update ]
Despite safety measures, incidents may happen during the Hajj as pilgrims are trampled or ramps collapse under the weight of the many visitors. During 2015 Hajj, a stampede resulted in 769 deaths and injuries to 934 others, according to the Saudi authorities. [ needs update ]A report from Associated Press totalled at least 1470 fatalities from official reports from other countries, making it the most deadly such episode to date. Concerns were raised in 2013 and 2014 about the spread of MERS because of mass gatherings during the Hajj. Saudi Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabia said authorities have detected no cases of MERS among the pilgrims so far. He also said that, despite few cases of MERS, Saudi Arabia was ready for the 2014 pilgrimage.
In November 2017, Saudi authorities banned selfies at the two holy sites.
In February 2020, Saudi Arabia temporarily banned foreign pilgrims from entering Mecca and Medina to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Kingdom.It later temporarily suspended the pilgrimage of Umrah. In June, the Saudi government announced that only "very limited numbers" of pilgrims already resident in Saudi Arabia would be permitted to participate in the Hajj.
To the Muslims, Hajj is associated with religious as well as social significance.The obligation for performing this pilgrimage is only fulfilled if it is done on the eighth to twelfth day of the last month of the Islamic calendar. If in a given year, an adult Muslim is in good health and his life and wealth is safe, they must perform the Hajj in the same year. Delaying it is considered sinful unless the delay is caused by reasons beyond their control.
Apart from being an obligatory religious duty, the Hajj is seen to have a spiritual merit that provides the Muslims with an opportunity of self-renewal.Hajj serves as a reminder of the Day of Judgment when Muslims believe people will stand before God. Hadith literature (sayings of Muhammad) articulates various merits a pilgrim achieves upon successful completion of their Hajj. After successful pilgrimage, pilgrims can prefix their names with the title 'Al-Hajji', and are held with respect in Muslim society. However, Islamic scholars suggest Hajj should signify a Muslim's religious commitment, and should not be a measurement of their social status. Hajj brings together and unites the Muslims from different parts of the world irrespective of their race, colour, and culture, which acts as a symbol of equality.
A 2008 study on the impact of participating in the Islamic pilgrimage found that Muslim communities become more positive and tolerant after Hajj experience. Titled Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering and conducted in conjunction with Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the study noted that the Hajj "increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment" and that "Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions."
Malcolm X, an American activist during the Civil Rights Movement, describes the sociological atmosphere he experienced at his Hajj in the 1960s as follows:
There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white. America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought patterns previously held.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia was expected to have earned up to $8.5 billion from Hajj. Saudi Arabia's highest source of revenue after oil and gas is Hajj and the country is expected to depend more on Hajj as the amounts of available oil and gas for sale decline.
Furthermore, the increase of religious tourism from about 12 million Muslims annually to almost 17 million by 2025 has given rise to increasing luxury hotel businesses in the area to accommodate pilgrims. The Abraj al-Bait firm intends to build hotels, shopping malls and apartments which is claimed to be an estimated value of three billion dollars. According to The Embassy of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government are working towards establishing programs which promote sanitation, housing, transportation, and welfare as the amount of visiting pilgrims increases.
Most pilgrims, from countries such as the United States, Australia and United Kingdom decide to purchase Hajj Packages from licensed hajj agencies in their countries. This helps direct the flow of traffic into the Kingdom and allows for pilgrims to work directly with a business responsible for their services instead of dealing directly with Saudi Arabia's government.
There has been a substantial increase in the number of pilgrims during the last 92 years, and the number of foreign pilgrims has increased by approximately 2,824 percent, from 58,584 in 1920 to 1,712,962 in 2012.Because of development and expansion work at Masjid al-Haram, the authority restricted the number of pilgrims in 2013.
Between 1940 and 1945, foreign pilgrims were restricted from arriving in Saudi Arabia as a result of World War II; all pilgrimages from 2020 onwards will be severely restricted as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
The following number of pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia each year to perform Hajj:
|Gregorian year||Hijri year||Local pilgrims||Foreign pilgrims||Total|
|2005||1425||1,030,000 (approx.)||1,534,769||2,560,000 (approx.)|
Hajj is one of the most important acts of faith a Muslim can commit. The act is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is considered mandatory for those who practice Islam. As presented above, the pilgrimage is entrenched in traditions and codified by a multitude of holy texts. Muslims are bound in a contract with Allah and Hajj is one of the payments which Allah requires of his followers.
For this reason, those who are unable to undertake Hajj themselves, are permitted to send another in their place under specific circumstances. First, the person who sends someone in their place must be unable to undertake Hajj themselves because of an incurable sickness or old age. If the sickness may be cured, the follower of Allah must go when they are able. Also, Hajj Badal may be performed on a person's behalf if they are already deceased. This act is considered a form of vicarious atonement. In this case, one of the Five Pillars of Islam can be completed for a Muslim who was not able to fulfill their duties while living.
Like the requirements for the person who is having Hajj being completed on their behalf, there are also requirements for those who are carrying out the act. When the person committing the act enters the Ihram—the holy garb worn during Hajj—they must acknowledge the person who they are representing. Also, when the Ihram is donned, the Hajj can only be for the single person who they represent and not for themselves. Another qualifications is that the present person must be Muslim and in good standing with the Islamic community. Because there are multiple distinct types of Hajj, the person performing the ceremony in another's place must attend the type which is desired by the unable.Lastly, if the person is still alive, then the performer of the Hajj Badal must ask for the permission of the person they hope to represent.
The basis of Hajj Badal can be found in the writings of Abd Allah ibn Abbas who recorded Muhammad's words. When approached by a woman from Juhayan, this exchange occurred between the two: "My mother vowed to go for Hajj, but she died before she did so. Can I perform Hajj on her behalf?" The Prophet replied: "Yes, perform Hajj on her behalf. Do you not think if your mother owed a debt that you would pay it off for her? Fulfil her debt to Allah; for Allah is more deserving that what is owed to him should be paid." (Hadith No.77, narrated by Ibn Abbas)Other instances of recorded conversation which solidified the act were recorded by other Islamic scholars such as Abdullah bin Az-Zubair and Al-Fadl ibn 'Abbas.
However, the validity of Hajj Badal has been questioned by other Islamic scholars. The Ulama, a large body of Islamic scholars, oppose Hajj Badal because of its imitation of Christian beliefs. Also, the Qur’an contains phrases which state that no man can truly bear the responsibility of others. Hajj Badal is an act which shifts the Islamic duty of a person to another which contradicts the teaching of the Qur’an.Hadiths, which are supposed sayings of Muhammed, cannot contradict the Qur’an according to Usool-e-Fiqh—the guiding Jurisprudence principles of Islam.
Another reason why Hajj Badal is criticized stems from lack of consistency. Out of the Five Pillars of Islam, none are subject to vicarious atonement. If prayer, Kalima, fasting, or Zakat are not able to be atoned for vicariously, then why can Hajj.Permitting vicarious atonement harms the strictness of performing Islamic traditions on the living and could harm the religion as a whole.
Lastly, passages in the Qur’an—specifically 22:28—stress the importance of witnessing the traditions of Hajj with one's own eyes.Hajj Badal effectively prevents a follower of Islam from partaking in the ceremonies. This contradiction with the word of the Qur’an is another reason why Islamic scholars disapprove of the practice.
Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah and commonly shortened to Makkah, is the holiest city in Islam and the capital of the Makkah Province of Saudi Arabia. The city is located 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah on the Red Sea, in a narrow valley 277 m (909 ft) above sea level. Its last recorded population was 1,578,722 in 2015. estimated metro population in 2020 is 2.042 million, making it the third-most populated city in the kingdom. Pilgrims more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj pilgrimage, observed in the twelfth Hijri month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.
The Stoning of the Devil is part of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. During the ritual, Muslim pilgrims throw pebbles at three walls, called jamarāt, in the city of Mina just east of Mecca. It is one of a series of ritual acts that must be performed in the Hajj. It is a symbolic reenactment of Ibrahim's hajj, where he stoned three pillars representing the temptation to disobey God and preserve Ishmael.
The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was an event that took place during the time of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was a pivotal treaty between Muhammad, representing the state of Medina, and the Qurayshi tribe of Mecca in January 628. It helped to decrease tension between the two cities, affirmed peace for a period of 9 years, 9 months and 9 days, and authorised Muhammad's followers to return the following year in a peaceful pilgrimage, later known as The First Pilgrimage.
Mount Arafat is a granite hill about 20 km (12 mi) east of central Mecca in the plain of Arafat in the Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. Mount Arafat reaches about 70 m (230 ft) in height, and is also known as the "Mount of Mercy". According to some Islamic tradition, the hill is the place where the Prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life. Muslims also say that it is also the place where Adam and Hawa reunited on Earth after falling from Heaven, and where Adam was forgiven, hence it is known as the "Mount of Mercy". A pillar is erected to show the place where the aforementioned took place.
The ʿUmrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of the year, in contrast to the Ḥajj, which has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar.
Kiswah is the cloth that covers the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is draped annually on the 9th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the day pilgrims leave for the plains of Mount Arafat during the Hajj. The term kiswah is Arabic for 'pall', the cloth draped over a casket.
In Twelver Shia Islam, the ten Ancillaries of the Faith are the ten practices that Shia Muslims have to carry out.
Dhu al-Hijjah, also spelled Zu al-Hijjah, is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar. It is a very sacred month in the Islamic calendar, one in which the Ḥajj (Pilgrimage) takes place as well as the Festival of the Sacrifice.
Muzdalifah is an open, level area near Mecca in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia that is associated with the Ḥajj ("Pilgrimage"). It lies just southeast of Mina, on the route between Mina and Arafat.
Ṭavaf is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage in Mecca, the Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are to go around the Kaaba seven times, in a counterclockwise direction; the first three circuits at a hurried pace on the outer part of the crowd, followed by four times closer to the Kaaba at a leisurely pace. The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to God.
A mīqāt is the principal boundary point of an area, within which Muslim pilgrims on the Ḥajj must be in the state of Iḥrām. These prohibited activities include clipping the nails, shaving any part of the body, having sexual relations; using perfumes, damaging plants, killing animals, covering one's head or one's face and hands ; getting married; or carrying weapons.
The Farewell Pilgrimage, 632 CE, is the final and only Hajj ('Pilgrimage') in which the (Prophet) Muhammad participated. Muslims who accompanied him on this occasion observed every move, act, and gesture of Muhammad, all of which became a precedent to be followed by Muslims all over the world.
Ihram clothing includes men's and women's garments worn by Muslim people while in a state of Iḥrām, during either of the Islamic pilgrimages, Ḥajj and/or ʿUmrah. The main objective is to avoid attracting attention. Men's garments often consist of two white unhemmed sheets and are universal in appearance. The top is draped over the torso, and the bottom is secured by a belt; plus a pair of sandals. Women's clothing, however, varies considerably and reflects regional as well as religious influences, but they often do not wear special clothing or cover their faces.
The Day of Arafah is an Islamic holiday that falls on the 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah of the lunar Islamic Calendar. It is the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage and the day after is the first day of the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. At dawn of this day, Muslim pilgrims will make their way from Mina to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafah and the Plain of Arafah. It was from this site that Muhammad gave one of his last famous sermons in the final year of his life. Muslims hold that part of the Qur'anic verse announcing that the religion of Islam had been perfected was revealed on this day.
The Kaaba, also referred to as al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah, and commonly shortened to Ka'bah, is a building at the center of Islam's most important mosque, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the most sacred site in Islam. It is considered by Muslims to be the Bayt Allāh and is the qibla for Muslims around the world when performing Salah.
The Great Mosque of Mecca, commonly known as al-Masjid al-Ḥarām, is a mosque that surrounds the Kaaba in the city of Mecca, in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. It is a site of pilgrimage for the Hajj, which every Muslim must do at least once in their lives if able, and is also the main phase for the ʿUmrah, the lesser pilgrimage that can be undertaken any time of the year. The rites of both pilgrimages include circumambulating the Kaaba within the mosque. The Great Mosque includes other important significant sites, including the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim, and the hills of Safa and Marwa.
Islamic writers claim it started from the time of Abraham through the establishment of the Islamic Hajj by Islamic prophet Muhammad, to the present-day hajj where millions of Muslims perform their pilgrimage annually. In Islamic tradition, pilgrimage was introduced during the time of prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Upon God's command, he built Kaaba which became the destination of pilgrimage. For the pagan Arabs in the Pre-Islamic Arabia, Kaaba was still the center of their worshiping. The present pattern of the Islamic Hajj was established by Muhammad, around 632 CE, who made reforms to the pre-Islamic pilgrimage of the pagan Arabs. During the medieval times, pilgrims would gather in chief cities like Basra, Damascus, and Cairo to go to Mecca in groups and caravans comprising tens of thousands of pilgrims.
Manasik is the whole of rites and ceremonies that have to be performed by Islamic pilgrims in and around Mecca. The Qur'an differentiates between two manasiks: The Manasik of Hajj, has to be donein the month Dhu al-Hijjah and The Manasik of ʿUmra, which can be performed any time of the year. The knowledge of manasik is an independent part of Fiqh.
The Sacred Sites in Mecca, are ritually important sites in Mecca were mentioned in the Quran and visited by pilgrims who during the annual Hajj. These sites are Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has affected over 188 countries and more than 9,000,000 people's social, economic, educational lives and overall well being. The Coronavirus pandemic affected Hajj (pilgrimage), which is the fifth pillar of the Five Pillars of Islam, where millions of Muslims from around the world visit Macca and Medina every year during Hajj season for a week, over 2,400,000 pilgrims attended Hajj in 2019. In March 2020, the minister of Hajj and Umrah encouraged those planning to visit the holy sites of Macca and Medina later in the year to wait before making any bookings. Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 in crowded places, flight restriction in many countries, and the unavailability of a vaccine against the virus the ministry of Hajj and Umrah took such serious measures. However; in June 2020, the ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that people from all nationalities who reside in Saudi Arabia are allowed to perform Hajj in a limited number of pilgrims, to ensure the safety and to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
|url=(help). National Geographic Society.
|url=value (help). New York Times. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
|url=value (help). New York Times. Retrieved 15 June 2020.