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Home > Article > Hajj (Pilgrimage)
 
Hajj (Pilgrimage)
 
Selamat Hari Raya Idul Adha
 
Hajj is the fifth principle of Islam. A Muslim is required to go on a pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca (Saudi Arabia), at least once in a lifetime, if the circumstances permit. Hajj is obligatory only when an individual is in a position, both physically and materially, to undertake the journey to Mecca.

Before arriving in the holy city, Muslims enter a state of consecration known as ihram, by removing their clothes and put on the humble garment of pilgrims; two seamless white sheets for men, and simple white dresses and scarves for women. The white garments are symbolic of human equality, purity, and unity before God, since all the pilgrims are dressed similarly.

Upon arriving in Mecca, pilgrims perform the initial tawaf, which is a circular, counter-clockwise procession around Ka'bah. All the while, the pilgrims state "Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk," which means "Here I am at your service, God, here I am". Tawaf is meant to awaken each Muslim's consciousness that God is the center of their reality and the source of all meaning in life.

Pilgrims also perform sa'i, which is hurrying 7 times from Safa to Marwah back and forth, reenacting Hajar's desperate search for water and food.

Then, on the first official day of Hajj (8th of Dzulhijjah), the pilgrims travel a few miles to the plain of Mina and camp there. From Mina, the pilgrims travel the next morning to the plain of Arafat where they spend the entire day in solemn prayer and devotion. That evening, the pilgrims travel and camp at Muzdalifa, a site between Mina and Arafat. The pilgrims stay overnight and offer various prayers there.

The pilgrims return to Mina on the 10th of Dzulhijjah, and throw seven pebbles at 3 stone pillars that represent the devils. This symbolizes Ibrahim's throwing stones at devil when he tried to dissuade Ibrahim from sacrificing his son. Then the pilgrims sacrifice animals (sheep, lambs, cows, camels) reenacting the story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice. The meat is distributed to the poor and needy people. After the sacrifice, the pilgrims return to Mecca to end the formal rites of Hajj by performing a final tawaf and sa'i.

Hajj is intended to develop God consciousness and to strengthen sense of spiritual. It is also believed to be an opportunity to seek forgiveness of sins accumulated throughout life. Prophet Muhammad had said that a person who performs Hajj properly "will return as a newly born baby (free of all sins)."

Hajj also enables Muslims from all over the world, of different colors, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship ALLAH together.
 
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