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Hajj

hajj
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The Hajj, is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. All Muslims are expected to make it atleast once in their entire lifetime. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam – the others being Shahaadat, Salat, Zakat, Sawm.

History of Hajj

Prophet Muhammad established the Hajj in its current format. Although, as per Quran excerpts, Hajj elements derive from the times of Abraham(Messenger of god). According to Islamic folklore, God ordered Abraham to leave his wife Hajara and his son Ishmael alone, in the desert of ancient Mecca. Later on, God ordered Abraham to build Kaaba. It is said that the Black Stone attached to the Kaaba was brought from the heaven by archangel- Gabriel (Messenger of god).

Rites of Hajj

The main rituals of the Hajj pilgrimage are:
Ihram: Pilgrims enter the state of ihram (purity) after reaching Mecca. Men have to wear the ihram garments which consists of two white, seamless sheet wraps and sandals. Apart from purity, it symbolises equality and unity beyond class, wealth, status or culture. Women usually dress in white with their faces and hands uncovered.While in the state of ihram, pilgrims must follow some restricted rules and regulations.

Tawaf: Each person walks counterclockwise seven times around the Ka'aba in Masjid-Al-Haram.

Al-Safa and Al-Marwah: Pilgrims run seven times between the mountains of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah as Hajar did during her search for water.

Mount Arafat: Pilgrims go to the plains of Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) gave his last sermon, to stand in vigil.

Stoning the Devil: After a symbolic stoning ritual is performed in Mina in which they fling pebbles at three walls known as jamarat.

Eid ul Adha: The tenth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijja marks the start of the three-day festival of Eid ul Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) when animal sacrifice (Qurbani) is performed, following which pilgrims continue with other rites to complete their Hajj.

Qurbani: Qurbani, or Udiyah as it known in Arabic, commemorates the sacrifice Ibrahim (alaihis salaam) was willing to perform of his son Ismail (alaihis salaam) for Allah, who spared his son by sending down a ram to take his place.

Transportation

There are multiple transportation options while in Mecca, but beware of Muslim law as non-Muslims are not permitted in the Holy City.

Taxi

Price are negotiable; If you would like to catch a shared taxi from Makkah to Jeddah (city and airport) or Madinah, you should come to the taxi stand just 50 meters from Haram’s Bab-ul-Fahad.

Use your feet

During the Hajj season, as well as in Ramadan, the best way to get around in Mecca is walking. Other modes of transport are expensive as well as time consuming.

Bus Service

The air conditioned bus service from Jeddah to Mecca is quite comfortable and costs 10 Riyals which is approximately $2.70 USD for the one-way trip.

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