When: 1st October to 6th October 2014 Where: Mecca
Hajj is one of the largest pilgrim gatherings of the world which takes place once a year. It is the greatest religious duty that a Muslim must carry out at least once in his lifetime. A person needs to be physically and financially stable to be able to carry out the pilgrimage. Non-Muslims are exempted from being part of this pilgrimage.
The Hajj showcases solidarity of the Muslims and their submission to God. No one is classified in terms of their richness or poverty, country or region while undertaking the Hajj journey. They all are looked upon as one, as Muslim brothers and sisters who have united in the name of God.
The pilgrims undertake the procession by wearing simple white clothes that represents humanity, and remaining in a spiritual state wherein they are not bothered by any worldly affairs or any bad habits. They undertake this journey in order to stand in front of the holiest shrine of the Muslim world and ask God to accept their good deeds.
The pilgrims perform rites which dates back to the time of Prophet Mohammad whose selfless sacrifice has no parallel in the history of humankind. The people perform a number of rituals like stoning of the three pillars of Jamarat, which represents Satan, they walk counter clockwise seven times around the Kaaba, they re-enact Hajar’s (Prophet’s wife) search of water by running back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah. They drink water from the holy spring of Zamzam in Mecca and shave their head or sacrifice a lock of their hair after the completion of the walk.
At the end they sacrifice an animal donating its meat to the needy and celebrate the four day global festival of Eid al-Adha. This Eid signals the end of the Hajj. For the next two days they stone the three pillars in the Jamarat. Later they perform the Tawaf Al-Wida', the Farewell circling of the Ka'abah before their departure from the city.
Most of the pilgrims also visit Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during their visit.
Hajj is a very important pilgrimage that every muslim tries to undertake as it gives them a feeling of equality in the eyes of God. Some Muslims even save money their entire lifetime to undertake this spiritual journey once.