What is Hajj in Islam?

Each year, millions of Muslims from all across the world perform Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy mosque of Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Hajj is a spiritual duty and a pillar of Islam, meaning that Hajj must be performed by every Muslim at least once in their lifetime, so long as they are financially, physically, and emotionally able to do so.

The sacred pilgrimage of Hajj consists of a series of rites and rituals – some in order – that provide a spiritual, emotional, and physical challenge for the pilgrim.

Each step of Hajj offers its own unique purpose and wisdom and takes place between several locations in and around the vicinity of Mecca.


Why is Hajj important?

Hajj is one of the most important events in a Muslim’s life as it is a fundamental religious obligation for Muslims who are physically and financially capable.

The act of completing Hajj demonstrates submission and obedience to God and allows Muslims from all around the world to gather in one place for worship.

Hajj commemorates the legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), his wife Hajar, and his son Ismail and their unwavering sacrifice, faith and trust in God.

Hajj is viewed as a journey of purification and repentance, allowing pilgrims to renew their faith, spiritually grow and self-reflect.

What is the Hajj pilgrimage and how is it performed?

The Hajj pilgrimage involves various steps and rites that are performed in a specific order at specific locations.

The 18 Steps Of Hajj At A Glance:

  1. Preparation and Intention
  2. Enter state of Ihram (state of purity special attire)
  3. Tawaf x7 (circumambulating the Kaaba)
  4. Sa’i of Safa and Marwa (completing laps of the two hills)
  5. Clip/Shave Hair (Umrah ends)
  6. Resting and Praying
  7. Enter state of Ihram
  8. Arrive at Mina (spiritual reflection in the tents)
  9. Day of ‘Arafah (day of asking for forgiveness)
  10. Muzdalifah (worship under the night sky)
  11. Rami (stoning of the devil)
  12. Qurbani (sacrifice)
  13. Shave Head
  14. Tawaf al-Ifadha (the final circumambulating of the Kaaba)
  15. Rami (stoning of the devil)
  16. Spend night at Mina
  17. Rami (stoning of the devil)
  18. Farewell Tawaf al-Wida (the completion circumambulating of the Kaaba and prayer)

How do you prepare for Hajj

Here are some important basics to keep in mind when preparing to go on Hajj:

  • Travel documents and paperwork
  • Prepare spiritually
  • Inform your loved ones
  • Plan accommodation and transportation
  • Ihram clothing
  • Prayer and spiritual essentials
  • Personal supplies
  • Snacks
  • Medications and first aid kit

What happens on Hajj?

Hajj takes place during the month of Dhul Hijjah – which translates to ‘the month of the pilgrimage’.

During Hajj, Muslims undertake a series of sacred steps over several days spanning across various areas in the city of Mecca. Throughout the entire Hajj journey, pilgrims engage in prayers, recitation of Quranic verses, supplication, remembrance of Allah, and seeking forgiveness.

Dhul Hijjah is a very important month. Not only is it the last month in the Islamic year, but during this period, Muslims make Hajj, offer Qurbani to those in need and celebrate Eid al-Adha before the new year begins.


How many people go on Hajj?

Each year, millions of Muslims from all across the world travel by land, sea and air to perform Hajj. Approximately 2-3 million people attend Hajj each year.

The Saudi government estimates that every year they receive three times as many international pilgrims (1.9 million), compared to Saudi-residents (Saudi and non-Saudi).

Here is how many people have attended Hajj in previous years:

  • 1999: Over 1.8 Million
  • 2009: Over 2.3 Million
  • 2012: Over 3.1 Million

Why do Muslims go on Hajj?

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which means that it is obligatory for every Muslim at least once in their lifetime (if they have the means).

Hajj holds great significance in Islam as in the Holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) commands Muslims to visit Mecca and complete it as part of their faith at least once in their lifetime.

The Hajj pilgrimage is a test of patience and temperament, and can be spiritually, emotionally, and physically challenging. However the sanctity of this occasion provides an experience and opportunity like no other for becoming closer to God, and many Muslims around the world strive their whole lives for the opportunity to perform Hajj.


Why is Mecca so important to Muslims?

Mecca holds tremendous importance to Muslims as it represents the spiritual center of the Islamic faith and serves as a unifying force for Muslims worldwide.

Mecca has a rich history intertwined with Islam and is home to the largest mosque in the world, Masjid al-Haram, which surrounds the Kaaba, a center structure which Muslims around the world face every day during their five daily prayers.