The Muslim Pilgrimage
The Religion Islam Is Consisting Of Five Basic Pillars Monotheism, Salah, Fasting, Charity And Pilgrimage. The Pilgrimage is the fifth pillar of Islam and Hajj is the Arabic word for Muslim Pilgrimage. In Arabic the meaning of Hajj is to set out for a place literally and for Muslims that place is the Holy land of Saudi Arabia and more particularly Mecca, the grand mosque and the prayer center for Muslims.
Every Muslim is under an obligation of following these five pillars of Islam but the last three of them are mandatory. Hajj is obligated for those Muslims who can both physically and financially afford all the required aspects of performing Hajj. Muslims from all around the world converges to the Holy land of Saudi Arabia to perform this Islamic rite on the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
By the Grace of GOD, this year I had an opportunity of performing Pilgrimage, the journey of Muslim Pilgrimage start from applying for the Hajj visa and if approved then find any hajj service provider to make all the necessary arrangements to perform this Holy journey with more ease and satisfaction.
For male Pilgrims the journey begins with putting on a single and unstitched piece of fabric called “Ihram”, or we can say entering into the state of spirituality. In this state of spirituality, Pilgrims are under an obligation not to cut any of their hair, nails or not to hurt any other species of this world including plants, insects or animals or engage into any sexual relationship.
Pilgrims must clean themselves of unwanted hairs before entering the state of Ihram. After this the journey begins for the Holy rite of Islam, Pilgrims from all around the world lands at the city of Jeddah and from their head towards the Holy city of Mecca.
The rites of the Pilgrimage start from the 8th day of the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. The first rite of the Muslim Pilgrimage starts with departure for Mina, Mina is a place located in western Arabia, and it is in the neighborhood of Mecca and is situated 5 kilometers east to the Mecca.
At Mina Pilgrims performs Salah of 4 times out of 5 obligated to Muslims and stays overnight at Mina. On the second day the Pilgrims now heads towards the hills of Arafat which is located at a distance of 14.4 kilometers from Mina, after offering the dawn Salah. Mount Arafat was the place where the Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon took place and this is considered as the most highlighted and important place of Muslim history.
At Arafat Pilgrims offers afternoon Salah and evening Salah combined and shortened at Afternoon time, the other ritual to perform at Arafat is standing at the hill or within the confine of the Arafat hill till the sunset.
When the sun starts setting down, Pilgrims now must proceed for Muzdalifah without offering the sunset time Salah and then when Pilgrims are at Muzdalifah, another combine Salah must be offered which is of Sunset time Salah and the night time Salah, and then Pilgrims stays overnight at Muzdalifah and this marks the end of the second day of Hajj.
After staying overnight at Muzdalifah, on the third day of Hajj, Pilgrims now head towards Mina, at Mina, Pilgrims performs the stoning ritual of the devil. The stoning ritual consists of throwing 7 pebbles to the one imaginary devil which is the last one out of three imaginary devils.
After completing the stoning ceremony, Pilgrims now sacrifices an animal in the memory of the great devotion of Abraham’s towards one GOD and after completing the sacrifice the Pilgrims must cut some of the hairs from their head or shave the head completely.
After completing the hair cutting, now Pilgrims heads toward the grand mosque in Mecca again to perform the circumambulation of the house of GOD. This circumambulation is called the “Pilgrimage circumambulate” and after completing this, stay overnight at Mina again, and this marks the end of the third day of Hajj.
At the Fourth day of hajj, Pilgrims does the stoning ceremony of the devil again and this time the stoning ceremony consists of throwing pebbles at all of the 3 imaginary devils. At any time of afternoon Pilgrims can throw seven pebbles at each of the 3 pillars considered as an imaginary devil in order of their positions.
Pilgrims who were unable to perform circumambulate yesterday, can now perform it and once done performing circumambulate, stay overnight at Mina.
After staying overnight at Mina, the fifth day of the Hajj begins with the repetition of the stoning ceremony same as yesterday and those Pilgrims who were not able to perform circumambulate in last two days, Pilgrims now must perform it before the sun set.
After completing all the above rituals, the Pilgrims can now leave the ground of Mina with their groups and tour operators before the sun sets. Important Note: If you are unable to depart before the sunset, the Pilgrim remains in Mina for the third night and do the stoning rite again as the third and fourth day.
About the Author
Mahum Ahmed is the PRO of the renown Hajj and Umrah group located in United States, Chicago. Mahum Ahmed is expert Hajj and Umrah tour operator with the privilege of serving thousands of Muslims for Hajj and Umrah every year.
Her company, “Chicago Hajj and Umrah” is among the few authorized and certified Hajj and Umrah tour operator by the ministry of Hajj and Umrah Saudi Arabia. For the most affordable and hassle free Hajj and Umrah packages visit chicagohajj.com