Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2643

The Hajj: how do they perform?

Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz

Spiritually guided some 3 million Muslim pilgrims from around the globe crowded onto holy Mount Arafat near Mecca on Friday to seek a spiritual stability and peace for Muslims and others around the world and hoping for a safe Hajj. Muslims strongly believe God (Allah) will accept their prayers if they are made within the sacred zone on the mountain plain, the site of Prophet Mohammad's (PBUH) last sermon 1,400 years ago. Wearing simple white robes to symbolize equality and selflessness, many trekked at dawn to the rocky outcrop, known as Jebel al-Rahma (Mount Mercy.Muslim pilgrims performing the haj climb the Jebel al-Rahma (Mount Mercy) at the plain of Arafat, near Mecca, December 29, 2006Muslim pilgrims performing the haj climb the Jebel al-Rahma (Mount Mercy) at the plain of Arafat, near Mecca, December 29, 2006

The performing Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam, which every adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their life if they can afford it and are physically able.

There are three forms of performing hajj, but all require wearing a special white garment called the Ihram. The three forms differ in the degree and scope of the pilgrimage rituals. The main differences are the order and number of the rituals, when the Ihram is worn and when or whether hair is shorn. After hajj is complete Muslims are considered cleansed of all sin.

The pilgrimage is also considered a uniting event for Muslims from around the world. Believers of Islam from all cultures come together over several days to show reverence for Allah and the founding prophets of the faith. Even though some Muslims stay in tents while others stay in posh hotels, the rituals associated with hajj are intended to bring all Muslims together equally under Allah.

Muslim pilgrims performing the haj climb the Jebel al-Rahma (Mount Mercy) at the plain of Arafat, near Mecca, December 29, 2006Muslim pilgrims performing the haj climb the Jebel al-Rahma (Mount Mercy) at the plain of Arafat, near Mecca, December 29, 2006After Malcolm X performed hajj, the controversial African-American leader rejected radical anti-white rhetoric and was subsequently ostracized by the leaders of the American Black Muslim movement. It was his trip to Mecca that helped him understand that Islam is not a religion restricted to people of color and the pilgrimage was a watershed leading him towards a more moderate political viewpoint on race.

When pilgrims arrive they will attend a ceremony at Mount Arafat, where prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is believed to have given his last sermon in 632 AD

On the second day, prayers will be held until nightfall. The third day includes a ritual sacrifice of sheep or camel and a symbolic stoning of Satan at Mina, just outside Mecca.

Pilgrims will end the pilgrimage on the fourth day with the ritual of circling the holy Black Stone preserved by the temple of Kaaba.

Hajjee pilgrims are required to circle the temple seven times, three times fast and four times slowly. The circling is called Tawaf. After circling Kaaba, pilgrims will drink water from the Zamzam spring, said to have nourished Ishmael, the son of Hagar and Abraham. Hajjees are encouraged to take leftover water home after the trip.

Pilgrims may also make a decision to walk seven times between the hills Safaa and Marwah, about 300 meters apart, and ending the ritual by cutting their hair or shaving their heads. Nevertheless, this portion of the ritual can be deferred.

Hajj Disasters

2006: 345 die in a crush during a stone-throwing ritual

2004: 251 trampled to death in stampede

2003: 14 are crushed to death

2001: 35 die in stampede

1998: At least 118 trampled to death

1997: 343 pilgrims die and 1,500 injured in fire

1994: 270 killed in stampede

1990: 1,426 pilgrims killed in tunnel leading to holy sites

1987: 400 die as Saudi authorities confront pro-Iranian demonstration

- Asian Tribune -

Share this


.