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Hajj Facts

Every Muslim aspires to take part in the incredible spiritual journey that is Hajj. There is a lot of details around attending Hajj and the rituals performed while in the holy city of Mecca and we have collated this here for your guidance. Although there are certain acts that must be followed, a very important part of Hajj is performing the journey with the best intentions.

Taking place annually, there is a lot of information surrounding Hajj including a number of important Hajj facts that all Muslims should familiarise themselves with before embarking on the pilgrimage. Our guide to Hajj facts will outline the key important details for our Brothers and Sisters to help them prepare and become acquainted with the journey of Hajj and it’s intricate and important rituals.

Whether you are a revert or simply have an interest, if you have ever wondered what Hajj is and why is it important, our guide is here to help.

What Is Hajj?

  • Of the Five Pillars of Islam, Hajj is the 5th and final pillar.
  • Every Muslim is expected and has an obligation to attend Hajj at least once in their lifetime.
  • Hajj takes place in the last month of the Islamic calendar, Dhul Hijjah from the 8th to the 12th
  • Hajjis is the name and optional title that Muslims gain on completion of their Hajj journey and some choose to formally add it to their name
  • Hajj rites are performed over a period of 5-6 days

How Do Your Prepare for Hajj??

  • Before crossing the Miqat boundary, Muslims are expected to enter a state of purity and dress in the appropriate clothing, this is known as Ihram. For men, the clothing is two pieces of plain white sheet that they use to wrap themselves, leaving the right shoulder exposed. For women, they can choose to wear the white sheet or can dress in modest clothing of any colour, leaving only their face and hands exposed.
  • To enter the state of Ihram, you must have performed your personal hygiene rituals including clipping the nails and removing hair from under the armpits and naval and have carried out Ghusl or Wudhu if Ghusl cannot be performed.
  • Your intention Niyyah should be made at the Miqat or close to it if you are travelling and the intention can be spoken aloud or in your heart. Followed by reciting the Talbiyah. Once all rituals have been completed, pilgrims enter the state of Ihram and become known as Muhrim.

What Happens at Hajj?

  • On the first day (the Day of Quenching Thirst), pilgrims make their way to Mina. This might be via coach the night before or on the morning of the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah or some groups choose to walk the 5-6 miles from Mecca to Mina. The day is spent in the camps listening to lectures, making Salah and reciting the Talbiyah before staying overnight.
  • On the second day (the Day of Arafat), pilgrims travel to Mount Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gave his final sermon including his teachings on how women should be treated by men and that all Muslims are brothers and we should endeavour to remain united.
    • Fasting on the Day of Arafat is usually a spiritual ritual for Muslims however, pilgrims in attendance at Mount Arafat are not recommended to fast.
    • To correctly perform Wuquf al-Arafat, you must be attendance of Mount Arafat for a period of time from midday on day 2 to the beginning of Fajr on day 3.
    • The rest of day 2 is spent in Salah, offering your supplications, reciting Talbiyah, reading the Qur’an and connecting to Allah (SWT). It is considered the most important part of the Hajj pilgrimage and no time should be wasted on eating, talking, or resting.
    • After sunset you are permitted to leave Arafat to make the journey to Muzdalifah, here you will perform the Maghrib Salah. If you perform this Salah in Arafat, it will not count and you will need to make it again. You can start towards Muzdalifah before sunset however you must not cross the border of Arafat before the sun has completely set.
  • The third day is the first day of Eid and is known as the Day of Sacrifice for the large number of animals that are sacrificed. On this day or between sunrise of this day (the 10th) and sunset on the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah there are certain rituals that must be carried out in a particular order to be valid.
    • The first ritual is the pelting of stones at the largest pillar, called Jamarah al-Aqaba and only the large pillar. This pillar is located at the Jamarat and is the nearest to Mecca.
    • The three pillars or walls are located at the spot at which the devil in his human form appeared to Prophet Ibrahim, in an attempt to mislead him and encourage him away from Allah’s (SWT) guidance. Prophet Ibrahim turned him away by throwing stones and the devil retreated.
    • After Rami (pelting) of the largest pillar, it is time for the animal sacrifice. This is usually performed on the behalf of the pilgrim as arranged by their tour group and is known as Qurbani. Qurbani is the sacrifice of a goat, sheep, cow, or camel in which the shares are distributed amongst the pilgrim, their relatives or neighbours and the poor and needy communities. Many Muslims choose to donate their Qurbani to those most in need to ensure they can enjoy the Eid celebrations with the rest of the Ummah.
    • After the sacrifice is made, Muslims go to have their hair shaved (Halq, for men) or trimmed (Taqsir, for women). This can be done in Mina, Mecca or Muzdalifah but must be carried out before sunset on the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah and within the boundaries of Haram or a penalty is due.
    • The final ritual is performing Tawaf al-Ziyarah and must only be done after cutting the hair. This ritual involves walking seven circuits of Tawaf around the Holy Kabaa inside Masjid Al-Haram, followed by two Rakats of Salah and drinking the Zamzam water.
    • Now the sacrifice is completed, the hair has been cut and you have performed Tawaf al-Ziyarah, you are allowed to leave the spiritual state of Ihram.
    • After leaving the state of Ihram, you should return back to Mina unless you have a genuine reason to remain in Mecca.
  • The fourth to sixth day (to this day still known as the Days of Drying Meat) are the days of celebration but there are still a few rituals that must be completed.
    • Between midday on the 11th and prior to Fajr on the 12th, head to Jamarat to stone the remaining pillars. The recommended procedure is stone the smallest pillar first, Jamarah al-Ula and perform a Dua, stone the middle pillar, Jamarah al-Wusta and perform a Dua and then finally stone the largest pillar, Jamarah al-Aqaba. Return to your Mina camp and spend the remainder of the day in worship.
    • The same ritual is carried out on the fifth day, with Rami (pelting) needing to be completed by Fajr on the 13th before leaving for Mecca. If you are still within Mina when the Fajr Salah begins on the 13th, you are obligated to perform Rami for the sixth day.
    • The final ritual on the sixth day is the farewell Tawaf, the Tawaf al-Wida. This is another set of seven circuits of the Tawaf around the Holy Kabaa, followed by two Rakats and drinking of the Zamzam water.
  • After this farewell Tawaf, the pilgrimage of Hajj is complete.

Why Is Hajj Important?

  • It is following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who performed Umrah 4 times and Hajj once during his life.
  • When performing Hajj, Muslims enter a state of holiness known as Ihram, this is a pure state of both the mind and body.
  • Hajj is a tradition dating back thousands of years and a duty of all Muslims able to make the journey.

More Hajj Facts

  • Over 3 million pilgrims performed Hajj in 2016. Numbers fell for the next few years but grew to almost 2.5 million pilgrims attending in 2019. 2020 Hajj was cancelled to prevent the spread of COVID19, and the number of attendees are expected to climb from next year.
  • Like other Islamic Calendar events, Hajj has no fixed date in the Gregorian Calendar, instead following the cycles of the moon.
  • The festival of Qurbani falls on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, during Hajj and starting on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah.
  • Hajj is an important part of Islam that only Muslims may attend. The holy city of Mecca does not allow non-Muslims entry at all by rule of the Saudi Arabian government.

The rituals and rites of Hajj are vast, and we hope the Hajj facts outlined above provide guidance for the most important things to remember when embarking on the pilgrimage. May your Hajj be accepted and may Allah (SWT) provide Muslims all over the world the opportunity to perform their Hajj. If you are planning your Hajj journey for the year ahead, may you travel safely and have a swift journey home.

If you can’t attend Hajj, you can still make Qurbani with Muslim Aid. View our appeal pages for more information about the global causes we support, including Qurbani, Zakat and supporting those in the Ummah who have the greatest needs.

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