What is the Hajj?
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the longest running annual events in human history, which millions of Muslim pilgrims perform each year, from hundreds of countries around the world.The Hajj commemorates the trials of the Prophet Abraham, the father of Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, and celebrate his virtues: Peace, friendship, and equality.All Muslims are required by the Quran to perform the Hajj, if they are financially and physically able to do so, once in their lives.The rituals of the Hajj include:
- Performing the Tawaf, the circling of the Ka’bah, or House of God, seven times. Muslims believe the Kab’ah was built by the Prophet Abraham in gratitude to God for saving the life of Hagar and his son Ishmael;- Performing the Say’ye, running seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, to commemorate Hagar’s efforts to find water in the desert to save the life of her son Ishmael who was dying of thirst;- Drinking from the well of Zamzam, which Muslims believe Hagar found through the divine intervention of the Angel Gabriel;- Praying at Arafat, on the Day of Standing, which marks the anniversary of the last sermon of the Prophet Mohammed;- Stoning the Devil, at the three pillars of Jamarat, which represent the locations where the Devil appeared to Abraham to persuade him to disobey God’s command to sacrifice his son;
After Stoning the Devil, an animal sacrifice is required.The Hajj encourages forgiveness, mercy, renewal and rebirth. During the Hajj, people meet from around the world, which is the essence of Ibn Battuta’s story, fascinated as he was by religion and cultural diversity.