Rafed English

A Definition of Hajj

Literally, Hall refers to the intention of visiting a place. The Holy Qur'an transfers the meaning of Hajj from its lexical general meaning to a traditionally specific meaning which denotes the annual pilgrimage to the Holy Ka'ba in Mecca, one of the religious duties of Islam.

The great annual gathering called Hajj, is a collection of rites and ceremonies, offered by Muslims, who are bound to carry out religious duties, in a specific place and during a specific time set by Islam, similar to the way the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) did.

Hajj is so called because the Muslim who performs it goes to Mecca, the Sacred House, at the start of Dhul-Hijjah (the eleventh month of the Muslim calendar) and visits other sacred places like Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah to offer his devotions.

Islam states specific dates, time and place for offering such devotions. Failing to heed them renders them unacceptable by Allah.

Ihram (donning the pilgrim's robes) begins in a certain place. Tawaf (the ceremonial circumambulation of the Ka'ba) is done in a specific place. Sa y (walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah) is done in a certain place. Wuquf (remaining in certain places during Hajj) is performed in specific places. Likewise, Rainy al-Jamarat (casting stones at the symbolic Satans) is done at specific sites and passing some nights is also a rite done in a certain place...etc.

As place has its significance and lawful position in this worship, date and time, also, have importance and impact as a prominent factor that renders this worship correct. Therefore, the most important of the devotions connected to this great duty are offered at specific times. Staying in Arafat, for example, takes place on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah. Passing the night at Muzdalifah is on the night of 10th (eve of Eid al-Adh hah): Yawm An-Nahr (the day in which animals are sacrificed) is the 10th day which is also the day of Eid. And spending the night at Mina is on the 11th and the 12th nights, of Dhul-Hijjah...all of them are related firmly to specific times.

Adapted from the book: "The Hajj As Worship and Education" by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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