Learning the Five Pillars of Islam part 5 – Hajj

As Salam Alaikum friends! I hope you are all well.

Now we are down to the last pillar in Islam out of five total. Hajj (the Islamic pilgrimage), is the 5th pillar.

Performance of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) is required of every adult Muslim, male or female, if physically and financially possible. Many Muslims spend their entire lives saving and planning for this journey; others make the pilgrimage more than once if they are able.

The requirements for performing the pilgrimage are as follows:

  • Maturity and sound mind, in order to understand the significance of the pilgrimage experience;
  • Physical capability to travel and perform the pilgrimage rites;
  • Financial stability, free of debt, so that one is able to bear the pilgrimage expenses as well as provide for dependents during travel.

For one who meets these criteria, performing the pilgrimage is obligatory.

When undertaking the pilgrimage, Muslims shed all signs of their wealth and societal distinctions by donning simple white garments, commonly called ihram. The required pilgrimage dress for men is two white cloths, one of which covers the body from the waist down, and one that is gathered around the shoulder. Women usually wear a simple white dress and headscarf, or their own native dress. The ihram is a symbol of purity and equality, and signifies that the pilgrim is in a state of devotion.

While wearing ihram, there are other requirements that Muslims follow in order to focus their energy on spiritual devotion. Harming any living thing is forbidden — no hunting, fighting, or vulgar language is permitted. Vanity is discouraged, and Muslims approach pilgrimage in as natural a state as possible: excessive perfumes and colognes are not used; hair and fingernails are left in their natural state without trimming or cutting. Marital relations are also suspended during this time, and marriage proposals or weddings are delayed until after the pilgrimage experience is completed.

Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world make the journey to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage (or Hajj). Dressed in the same simple white clothing to represent human equality, the pilgrims gather to perform rites dating back to the time of Abraham.

During these historic days, white, brown and black people, rich and poor, kings and peasants, men and women, old and young will all stand before God, all brothers and sisters, at the holiest of shrines in the center of the Muslim world, where all will call upon God to accept their good deeds. These days represent the zenith of every Muslim’s lifetime.

The Hajj resembles the re-enactment of the experiences of the Prophet Abraham, whose selfless sacrifice has no parallel in the history of humankind.

The Hajj symbolizes the lessons taught by the final prophet, Muhammad, who stood on the plain of Arafat, proclaimed the completion of his mission and announced the proclamation of God: “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam, or submission to God, as your religion” (Quran 5:3).

This great annual convention of faith demonstrates the concept of equality of mankind, the most profound message of Islam, which allows no superiority on the basis of race, gender or social status. The only preference in the eyes of God is piety as stated in the Quran: “The best amongst you in the eyes of God is most righteous.”

During the days of the Hajj, Muslims dress in the same simple way, observe the same regulations and say the same prayers at the same time in the same manner, for the same end. There is no royalty and aristocracy, but humility and devotion. These times confirm the commitment of Muslims, all Muslims, to God. It affirms their readiness to leave the material interest for his sake.

The Hajj is a reminder of the Grand Assembly on the Day of Judgment when people will stand equal before God waiting for their final destiny, and as the Prophet Muhammad said, “God does not judge according to your bodies and appearances, but he scans your hearts and looks into your deeds.”

The Quran states these ideals really nicely (49:13): “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other)). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”

Insha’Allah we can all make Hajj one day. I know I can’t wait until I am able insha’Allah 🙂

Love Amani. May Allah bless you and keep you happy , healthy and safe. Ameen

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Five Pillars of Judaism – Pilgrimage | A Jewish Voice

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