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Describe what is involved in performing Hajj.

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Introduction

Charlotte Jenkins 10P R.S Coursework January 2004 Hajj Section A - Describe what is involved in performing Hajj. (24 marks) The hajj takes place each year in the 12th month of the Islamic lunar - calendar on the 8th - 13th days of Dhul-Hijjah! Over a million people gather in the holy city of Makkah for Hajj each year and it is a duty that must be performed by every Muslim at sometime in his/her life. It is the fifth pillar of Islam and like all the other pillars it must be performed with the right intention or 'Niyyah.' Muslims must be able to pay the expenses to go on the hajj themselves and they must be physically and mentally healthy enough to withstand the hardships of the Hajj. If a Muslim isn't in a fit enough state to go then they can send someone in their place as long as they have the right Niyyah. Before or while on the Hajj Muslims recite 'O, our Lord, receive this from us...........make us submissive to you, and of our seed a nations submissive to you' (Surah 2: 127-9) The first stage of Hajj is to put on Ihram. This means to enter a state of ritual purity, where there must be no impure thoughts and men must be focused on Allah not on any sexual thoughts or feelings. Ihram is a seamless white garment, which the Muslims put on at certain places around the city called 'Miqat.' ...read more.

Middle

The command in The Qur'an is 'Complete the Hajj' or Umrah in the service of Allah' (Surah 2: 196.) Muslims must set out with he right purpose- 1.'for the glory of Allah not for the glory of the person making the journey.' The first part of Hajj is Ihram. Muslims say 'O Lord, I intend to take the Hajj and I am taking Ihram for it. Make it easy for me and accept it from me' this shows the importance of Allah in their lives because they are asking for his acceptance and even though they are asking Allah to make it easy for them they know what hardships the Hajj will bring! The simplicity of the clothes worn in Ihram protects the pilgrims from worrying about vanity and emphasises that everyone is equal in Allah's eyes and no-one should be able to tell the difference between and beggar and a king. Tawaf is a part of Hajj where Muslims circle the Ka'aba 7 times. This shows that Allah is the centre of their lives. Ibrahim and Isma'il built the Ka'aba and it became an extremely holy place unlike the other 'grandiose ziggurats' (temples) at the time. To build the top layers of the Ka'aba Ibrahim stood on a large rock - Maqam Ibrahim where the pilgrims worship. For 4000 years the Ka'aba has been rebuilt on the same foundations, showing the importance of the structure in Muslims worship. ...read more.

Conclusion

footsteps. The experience of being in Makkah and looking at the Ka'aba is very powerful for Muslims as this is the birthplace of Islam and something millions of Muslims before them have seen. Pilgrims who have bee on the Hajj describe it as 'spiritual wave of rebirth' and 'a quest for redemption' these statements show how strongly Muslims feel that they have been changed and they have been truly accepted and forgiven by Allah. The stand at Arafat is the most emotional time for Muslims as they feel that their ' souls are on centre stage' as Allah can seen them for who they are and what is inside them. Pilgrims say they feel truly alone at this part of the Hajj because only Allah knows what is inside your heart. Hajj would bring release and inner peace to a Muslim because Allah would have forgiven all of their sins and they are now prepared for the judgement day, which in itself would constitute a huge feeling of relief. Even Muslims who are not on the Hajj feel its spiritual benefits as they think about the people on the Hajj and pray with them. Pilgrims have faced Allah and cast away obsession and temptation in a 'show of humility' and this shows the greater spiritual benefit of the Hajj for Muslims everywhere. 'Hajj is truly and inner journey' and this evident from the way pilgrims feel and I think this is what Allah and his final prophet Muhammad (pbuh) meant it to be. ...read more.

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