The Meaning and Significance of the Events of Hajj for a Muslim
Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca. It takes place on the eighth day of
Hijjah on the Islamic calendar. Hajj has been taking place for over
1,400 years. All Muslims try to go to Mecca at least once in their
Mecca marks the direction in which all MuslimÂ’s pray; it is the
birthplace of Muhammad (pbuh), the last prophet of Allah.
Hajj is not a single event, it takes place over many days and has many
rites, and these are:
Û© Rite of arrival to sacred territory
Û© A circular, then a linear ceremony of mobile prayer
Û© An exodus from an urban to a desert existence
Û© A spiritual camping trip among the dunes
Û© A daylong collective gathering
Û© An all-night vigil
Û© A casting out of temptation
Û© And a three-day feast.
When they first arrive in Mecca, they change from their street clothes
into Hajj garments. For men, two lengths of unstitched cotton cloth
resembling beach towels, and women wear the usual form of national
dress. This is because they are supposed to look alike. Everyone is
levelled and stripped of social distinctions before entering Mecca,
just as everyone is equal before God. Then everybody takes part in
walking prayer, called the turning. Each pilgrim arriving in Mecca
sets out at the northeast corner of the building and, in keeping with
an ancient tradition, walks briskly seven times around the Ka`bah.
When the pilgrims leave the Ka`bah they approach a flight of steps
that lead down to a cavernous room beneath the marble floors. That is
where the ancient Zamzam well is. The well presents a fundamental
wonder: water in a desert. Without it there would be no Mecca.
Traditionally, each pilgrim takes a drink from it, to refresh himself
and prepare for the rite that follows.
Pilgrims must then walk between the two hills of Safa and Marwa. This
symbolises HagarÂ’s search for water for her thirsty son (Abraham). The
7th lap delivers the pilgrim to...