>>Islam at a Glance
Islam at a Glance
By Suhel Farooq Khan
The Five Pillars of Islam
Pilgrimage to the Ka'bah (Hajj)

Muslims are required to go for the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah (Hajj) at least once in their lifetime. The tradition of the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah was started by Abraham after he and his elder son Ishmael constructed the Ka’bah in Makkah.

This pilgrimage is obligatory upon only those Muslims who can afford the expenses and withstand the rigors of the journey.
The pilgrimage to the Ka’bah (Hajj) begins on the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah (twelfth month of the Islamic calendar) and lasts for five days.

During the pilgrimage, the male pilgrims wear a simple dress consisting of two unstitched sheets of cotton to cover the upper and lower portions of the body. This humble dress removes all signs of social differences. Ladies perform the pilgrimage in their usual Islamic attire.

Following are the rituals of the pilgrimage:

  • Going around the Ka’bah seven times in an anti-clockwise manner.
  • Walking briskly between the hillocks of Safa and Marwah seven times to commemorate the event when Hagar, the wife of Abraham ran between these two hillocks in search of water for her thirsty infant son Ishmael.
  • Standing at the plains of ‘Arafat asking for forgiveness from God.
  • Following the Abrahamic tradition of stoning the Satan at Mina.
  • Offering sacrifice to God.
  • Trimming hair or shaving their heads.

Over 2 million Muslims of different nationalities, speaking different languages  congregate for the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah (Hajj) every year.
Muslims, who are unable to make the pilgrimage, celebrate the event around the world as Id Al Ad-ha (Festival of Sacrifice).

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