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What is Hajj?

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Introduction

Hajj Hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah is a central duty of Islam whose origins date back to the time of Prophet Abraham (PBUH). It brings together Muslims of all races and tongues for one of life's most moving spiritual experiences. For 14 centuries, countless millions of Muslims, men and women from all over the world, have made the pilgrimage to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam. In carrying out this obligation, they fulfil one of the five "pillars" of Islam, or central religious duties of the believer. Before Muslims actually go on the hajj they have to prepare dramatically. The hajj is a journey of a lifetime; it is one of the 5 pillars so it is compulsory (fard) although exceptions can be made to this rule. The Qur'an calls Muslims to 'complete the Hajj or 'Umrah in the service of Allah'. Hajj is the greater pilgrimage and can only be taken in Dhul-Hijah, the twelfth month of the year (lunar calendar): - whilst 'Umrah is a lesser pilgrimage and can be taken at any time. Sometimes a family or community collect enough money to send just one person because they can not all afford to go, Allah would probably accept this as he can see that an effort has been made and you only have to go on Hajj if you can afford it and are able. ...read more.

Middle

La Shareek Lak". This is Arabic so has to be translated to be understood in English, it translates to " Here I am, O Allah, here I am! I am here! O Allah without equal, here I am! Yours is the praise, the grace and the kingdom. No partner do you have. The pilgrims will try to say this prayer as much as possible. The next ritual for the Muslims is to make Sa'i (the run) between the two small hills, Safa and Marwah. This re-enacts the journey of Hagar and her son Isma'il who were abandoned in the desert and ran between the two hills searching for water. While facing the Ka'bah he praises Allah, raises his hands and says Takbeer "Allah-u Akbar" three times, then makes supplication to Allah. Then the pilgrim descends from the hill of Safa and heads towards the hill of Marwah. One should increase the pace between the clearly marked green posts, but should walk at a normal pace before and after them. When the pilgrim reaches the Marwah, he should ascend it, praise Allah and do as he did at the Safa. This is considered one round and so is the other way from the Marwah to the Safa. A total of seven rounds are required to perform the Sa'i. After Sa'i, the Muslim ends his 'Umrah rites by shaving his head or trimming his hair (women should cut a finger tip's length from their hair). ...read more.

Conclusion

It symbolises the Muslim's willingness to part with what is precious to him, and reminds us of the spirit of Islam, in which submission to God's will plays a leading role. This act also reminds the pilgrim to share worldly goods with those who are less fortunate, and serves as an offer of thanksgiving to God. As the pilgrims have, at this stage, finished a major part of the Hajj, they are now allowed to shed their Ihram and put on everyday clothes. On this day Muslims around the world share the happiness the pilgrims feel and join them by performing identical, individual sacrifices in a world-wide celebration of 'Id al-Adha, "the Festival of Sacrifice." Men either shave their heads or clip their hair, and women cut off a symbolic lock, to mark their partial deconsecration. This is done as a symbol of humility. All Muslims, on finishing the Hajj must perform Tawaf (circling the Kab'ah) a last time. This must be the last thing that is done in Mecca. Although this is the end of the hajj some Muslims may choose to stay a little longer and perform some of the rituals again if they feel the need to, the majority of Muslims will return to there respective homes and feel spiritually refreshed, for many Muslims the experience will change their whole life's, they may change there whole lifestyle as they now know that their slate is clean and they want to live the best life possible to prepare themselves for paradise. Adam Holland 11S Hajj Coursework, Part A ...read more.

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