Mecca

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 107
  • Published : May 5, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
One of a Muslim's duties, as described in the Five Pillars of Islam, is to go on Hajj at least once during his or her lifetime. This is a pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia. Approximately two million Muslims went in 1999, of which about one million were from Saudi Arabia, and 6,000 were from the U.S. 1 Council on American-Islamic Relations estimated in 2006 that "some 10,000 American Muslims go on Hajj each year." 7 The number of American pilgrims is increasing yearly. Followers of Islam who cannot go on a Hajj because of ill health or lack of money are excused from the obligation. If one assumes that Muslims go on Hajj a maximum of once during their lifetime, that the number of Muslims in America are about 6.5 million, and that the typical age span for pilgrims is 60 years, then fewer than 10% of American Muslims take part in the pilgrimage. The Council on Islamic Education states:

"The Hajj consists of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of prophet Abraham and his family...Prophet Muhammad had said that a person who performs Hajj properly 'will return as a newly born baby [free of all sins].' The pilgrimage also enables Muslims from all around the world, of different colors, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together The Hajj formally begins on the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah (Zul-Hijjah) - the 12th month of the Muslim lunar calendar. Dr. Monzur Ahmed writes: "Islamic months begin at sunset on the day of visual sighting of the lunar crescent [following the new moon]... Although it is possible to calculate the position of the moon in the sky with high precision, it is often difficult to predict if a crescent will be visible from a particular location... Usually the moon has to be at least 15 hours old before it can be seen from somewhere on earth." 3 On this first day of the Hajj, the pilgrims walk a few miles to Mina and camp there overnight. This will occur about 2000-MAR-14. It falls on a date about 11 days earlier each year. The pilgrims spend the "Day of Arafah" (ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah) in Arafah, an empty plain. They commit the entire day to supplication and devotion. In the evening, they move to Muzdalifa. They camp there overnight and offer various prayers. On the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, they return to Mina and throw seven pebbles at a pillar that symbolizes Satan's temptation of Abraham. (The Qur'an describes how Satan tried to persuade Abraham to not ritually murder his son Ishmael, as commanded by God). The pilgrims then sacrifice a sheep, recalling how Abraham sacrificed a sheep that God had provided in place of his son. The meat is distributed to friends, relative and the poor. Afterwards, they return to Mecca and perform a final tawaf and sa'i. They symbolize the completion of the Hajj by cutting their hair. Muslims worldwide gather for communal prayers on the first day of Id al-Adha (Eid-ul-Adha) -- the Feast of Sacrifice or Day of Sacrifice. The first day of this celebration is held on the 10th day of Duhl-Hijja, the last month of the Muslim year. This is the second of the two major Muslim annual holidays. In most areas, this event is celebrated over several days. Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj was made obligatory in the 9th year of Hijra. The Holy Prophet sent off 300 Muslims under the leadership of Hazrat Abubakr Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) to Mecca so that they could perform Hajj. That was the year when it was banned for the Mushrikeen (those who associate partners with Allah) to enter Ka’ba. It was also made unlawful to perform Tawaaf (circling of Ka’ba) with naked body.

The following year, 10th Hijra, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) announced a head of time he himself would perform Hajj that year. He led tens of thousands of Muslims to Hajj that year and...
tracking img