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Why is Hajj Important?

By Charity RightJul 6, 2022

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The annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah attracts millions of Muslims from all over the globe who congregate for a special, sacred experience to worship Allah SWT.

But whilst everyone knows it’s a special and sacred journey, not everyone knows precisely why Hajj is so important.

 

What is Hajj?

Hajj happens every year shortly after the start of Dhul Hijjah, the final month in the Islamic calendar. It’s a pilgrimage that every Muslim is expected to complete at least once in their lives if they are able to.

At least 2 million Muslims gather in Makkah for the five days of rituals to perform the fifth Pillar of Islam. Many of these rituals take place on the Day of Arafah and Eid al-Adha, the holiest days of the year in the Islamic faith. 

 

Is Hajj Compulsory?

Any act that forms the five Pillars of Islam are seen as compulsory for all practicing Muslims. This includes Shahada (the belief in Allah SWT), Salat (prayer), Zakat (giving to charity), Sawm (fasting) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah). 

Unlike the other pillars, Hajj is the most physically demanding and time-consuming act. The physically exerting rituals take place over five days in the middle of a desert, and so are far from easy. More than that, since Muslims come from all over the world, it can be quite costly to book a flight all the way to Saudi Arabia. 

But despite how physically exerting, time-consuming and expensive it can be, it’s still compulsory.

To help alleviate some of the financial difficulties, some charities and community leaders help other people make the journey. Some others save up their whole lives just to be able to perform Hajj at least once.

 

Why is Hajj the Most Important Pillar?

Like other pillars of Islam, Hajj is considered so sacred because it can strengthen your spirituality and connection to Allah SWT. But its emphasis on the history of Islam can also help you better understand the religion, strengthening your relationship with Allah SWT even more.

 

Hajj Strengthens Your Faith

If it were easy, it wouldn’t be much of a test, would it?

That’s partly why the Hajj pilgrimage is so physically demanding – it’s not meant to be easy. But if you can push past that little voice in the back of your mind telling you to take it easy, you can prove your devotion to Allah SWT. Even the more elderly Muslims refuse to give up, some hobbling along on cane and crutches, insisting on walking and completing the Hajj to show their dedication.

But besides being a chance to show your love for Allah SWT, the sacredness of the pilgrimage offers you the opportunity to wipe the slate clean; Allah SWT can forgive your past sins and you can start fresh with Allah SWT’s blessings.

The spirituality of the Hajj is only made stronger by the sacred state of Ihram. This forgoes any hang-ups you might have about materialism or worldly pleasures, instead allowing everyone to focus on their soul and inner self rather than what they look like on the outside. 

The sacred state of Ihram must be entered by all Muslims before entering Makkah for their pilgrimage. This is a religious state that insists you remain calm and avoid sexual activity, arguments, or violence of any sort. Women don’t wear make-up or perfume, and instead wear simple, loose clothes with a head covering; men wear plain white clothes without any stitching, emphasizing equality regardless of wealth.

 

Hajj Helps You Understanding the History of Islam

Each step of Hajj takes Muslim pilgrims along the same route that the Prophet Muhammad PBUH walked hundreds of years ago, including Mount of Arafat where he gave his final sermon.

But more than that, many of the sacred rites trace back to the Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail AS. For example, the slaughtering of livestock on Eid al-Adha commemorates the test that Ibrahim AS endured, when he was commanded to sacrifice his son Ismail AS before sparing him. And Muslims do Tawaf by doing seven circles around the Ka’aba, the most sacred site in Islam built by Ibrahim and Ismail AS.

Hajj also remembers Hajar AS, Ibrahim’s wife, who ran between the hills of Safa and Marwa in search for water to help her dying son before Allah SWT provided a spring. People still make this journey today, running and walking between the two hills seven times, and visiting the spring, now known as the Zamzam Well.

While Hajj is by no means as simple as the other four Pillars of Islam, it’s perhaps the most important and most sacred. This pilgrimage is compulsory for each Muslim to complete at least once in their life and can help you better understand Islam and deepen your faith and connection to Allah SWT.

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