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What is Hajj? Describe and Explain why a Muslim would take part in the Hajj and what this Involves.

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Introduction

Joseph Taylor RE GCSE: Islam Coursework 22/10/01 Question One: What is Hajj? Describe and Explain why a Muslim would take part in the Hajj and what this Involves. The five pillars of Islam are the foundation of the Islamic faith. Hajj is the fifth pillar. Hajj is the pilgrimage to Makka. For all Muslims with aspirations to go to heaven it is essential for them to practice the five pillars. So for every "good" Muslim making the pilgrimage to Makka, once in their life, is very important. (However not all Muslims are able to go on Hajj. If they are unable to go because they are ill, they don't have enough money, or other unavoidable circumstances: being held hostage they are exempt from Allah's judgement as long as they have niyyah (intent)). There are many reasons for a Muslim to go on Hajj. Hajj gives Muslims the opportunity to visit holy places walking the same streets as prophets have before them. It allows Muslims to be amongst two million people sharing their faith and beliefs, which can only strengthen their feeling of 'ummah'. However there can be no doubt of the true purpose of Hajj: "The main purpose of Hajj is to get Allah's forgiveness, to become once again as pure and innocent as a new born child"1 The Hajj takes place in the twelfth month of the Islamic (Hjiri) calendar, Dhu-l-Hijjah, specifically from the eighth to the twelfth. (The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar cycle, so it is eleven days shorter.) ...read more.

Middle

The next thing they do is perform s'ay. This is done to remember Hagar's struggle to find water. Whilst Hagar was looking for water Ishmael in his frustration kicked the ground. Where he kicked the ground a spring sprung up, saving Hagar and Ishmael's lives. This spring is now known as the Zamzam. The pilgrims drink from the Zamzam well; some people choose to wash their ihram clothes there as well, as the water is believed to have healing properties. The story of the Zamzam reminds Muslims that no matter how bad things seem God is always there to help us. The pilgrims spend the night at Mina, where Abraham sacrificed a ram in place of his son Ishmael. It is on the second day that the most important event takes place. "Latecomers rush to be in time, for if the stand is missed, the Hajj is not valid."3 During the stand (wuquf) on Arafat Muslims completely open themselves to Allah. By reciting the talibyah, the pilgrim declares their presence to God. The reason the stand is so important is that during the stand pilgrims are cleansed of all their sins, giving them the chance to start again living the right way. 'Wuquf' was traditionally first undertaken by Adam and Eve. Where they prayed for God's forgiveness after being cast from paradise. Once the pilgrims have reached Mina, on the third day, they go and throw seven stones at the Jamrat al-aqabah. The Jamrat-al aqabah is a largest of the stone pillars that represent Satan's (Iblis) ...read more.

Conclusion

Going to Makka makes the journey into your soul easier. Whilst you are on Hajj everyone is there to make amends with God, so the atmosphere is perfectly suited to your task. Like if you were writing an English essay: it would be easier if you were in a library with other students trying to do the same thing, than if you were a night club full of 'partiers'. "Joe I think your wrong, in the Quran4 it says Muslims should go to Makka it does not mention a journey into your soul." Even if you complete the itinerary of Hajj you will not achieve the goal of becoming pure without looking inside your soul and submitting your will to Allah. The physical aspect of Hajj is only one third of the total experience, without the other two-thirds: mind and soul your Hajj is incomplete. If Hajj were purely physical then it would not be so sacred that only Muslims could participate. Muslims are only allowed to participate because only they can complete Hajj by submitting to the will of Allah by looking inside their soul and realizing their faults. This is a very complex issue and so it is hard to have one right answer. I believe that true Hajj is a journey inside your soul. The goal of Hajj is to achieve purity, not to go on a sightseeing trip. Going to Makka helps people make this journey as they are in the best atmosphere, amongst the best people to help you achieve this Goal. Bibliography Islam Coursework-Hajj by Joe Taylor 1 A quote from 'World-Religions-Islam' (see bibliography). 2 Note it is not necessary to physically stand. ...read more.

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