What Is Hajj?

Hajj is an Islamic holiday where many Muslims make the pilgrimage over to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims. The pilgrimage is a religious mandate for many Muslims to be completed at least once in their lifetime as long as they are a healthy adult and are financially able to. If a Muslim meets these criteria they are called istita’ah and if they make the pilgrimage they are then called mustati. The Hajj is the second largest gathering of Muslims a year and is a demonstration of the strength of the Muslim people under their god – Allah. It is also one of the five pillars of Islam in conjunction with Shahadah (faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity), and Sawm (fasting).

The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Once at Mecca there are specific rituals including walking counter-clockwise around the Kaaba, sprints back and forth between Safa and Marwah, drinks from the Zamzam Well, nights on Mount Arafat and Muzdalifa, symbolic stoning of the devil, and animal sacrifices during Eid-al-Adha. Muslims are also required to wear Ihram clothing which is two white sheets.

Pilgrimages to Mecca are not uncommon for Muslims to do throughout the year. These are called Umrah, however, they do not substitute the religious obligation of performing Hajj. It doesn’t matter what job you have such as a Forth Worth and Dallas Lawyer or a pediatrician, everyone who is Muslim and is able will have to make the pilgrimage.