Everything you need to know about Hajj

The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion


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What is Hajj?

Hajj is an annual, six-day Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca (Makkah) in Saudi Arabia, made by over two million pilgrims every year. Islam requires every financially and physically able Muslim to make the journey once in their lifetime. The purpose of Hajj for Muslims is to unify their beliefs and submit to Allah. It’s one of the five pillars of Islam, along with faith, prayer, charity and fasting. 


When is Hajj?

The date differs each year according to the lunar calendar, but Hajj is always held approximately two months and 10 days after Ramadan, in the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Dhul-Hijjah.


The history of Hajj 

The rituals performed at Hajj follow the same actions undertaken by Islam’s prophet, Muhammad around 1,400 years ago. Around 2,000 BC, following the orders of Allah, prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) is said to have originally built the grounds and site known as the Kaaba where the sacred mosque stands today. Hajj was made obligatory to Muslims in the ninth year AH, and during this time, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) led a group of Muslims there, in the first known Hajj, and re-dedicated the site in the name of Allah. 


What happens during Hajj?

Men are required to dress in ihraam – two white sheets wrapped around the body and women wear the hijab. 


The first day of Hajj begins at Mina; a vast city of tents where worshippers spend the day in prayer. The next day is dedicated to prayer at Mount Mercy at Arafat, 14km from Mina; the scene of Prophet Muhammad's final sermon. The night is spent at Muzdalifah, between Mina and Arafat, where pebbles are collected for the upcoming Jamarat ritual. Before sunrise, pilgrims make the journey back to Mina where pebbles are thrown at the three pillars, symbolising the stoning of the devil. This act continues for the next few days, and as part of the ritual an animal sacrifice is also offered, and the male worshippers will trim or shave their hair. The last day of Hajj sees the pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba, which is also known as the farewell tawaf. Pilgrims walk around the Kaaba seven times, counter-clockwise, and once the farewell tawaf is performed, the Hajj is over and pilgrims return home.

The Jabal Omar Jumeirah Makkah Hotel is scheduled to open in 2019 and will be located within walking distance of the holy Mosque at Makkah.