The Hajj is a pilgrim’s journey to the holy metropolis of Mecca, which is located in the state of Saudi Arabia. Even though the pilgrim’s journey to Mecca was merely proclaimed to be obligatory during the life-time of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims believe that the rites day of the month back to the clip of Abraham. The pilgrim’s journey is performed yearly by Muslims all around the universe ; nevertheless it is of import to observe that the rite can merely be performed during a certain clip of the twelvemonth. Muslims rely on the lunar calendar for the public presentation of assorted rites. The lunar calendar – besides known as the Islamic Calendar – varies from the more well-known Gregorian calendar. The Islamic calendar is about 11 yearss shorter than the Gregorian calendar, so while the day of the month of the hadj remains changeless in relation to the lunar calendar, the day of the month for Hajj is non inactive in relation to the Gregorian calendar. That disagreement can be attributed to the fact that the Islamic calendar has 354 yearss in a non-leap twelvemonth while the Gregorian calendar has 365 yearss in a non-lunar twelvemonth.

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The pilgrim’s journey takes topographic point from the 8th to the 12th of Dhul Hijjah. Dhul Hijjah is the 12th month of the Muslim Calendar. To exemplify the close link between calendar clip and ritual worship it is deserving observing that the word Dhul Hijjah literally means “ Possessor of the Pilgrimage ” and the month is considered to be one of the sacred months of the Islamic calendar.

Both work forces and adult females are required to execute the Hajj at least one time in their life-time so long as they enjoy equal wellness and possess the fiscal agencies to make so. Even though the Hajj is a demand for both work forces and adult females ; some of the rites vary depending on the sex of the participant. There are a figure of rites and processs that need to happen in order to carry through the demands of the pilgrim’s journey to Mecca. The rite of Hajj begins on the 8th twenty-four hours of Dhul Hijjah. It is at this clip that the pilgrim makes the purpose of executing the Hajj ritual and the Muslim male pilgrim dons the ihram. The ihram consists of two white sheets of unhemmed fabric. The intent of such a modest garment is to show equality before God. It is to show that in the sight of God, there is literally no difference between a prince and a pauper. The garment has the consequence of doing all work forces appear equal in footings of external visual aspects. Muslim adult females do non have on the ihram for intents of keeping their modestness. After the pilgrim has changed into the proper garb, he/she is ready to execute the rites associated with the pilgrim’s journey.

The first ritual act associated with the Hajj is the Umrah. The Umrah is chiefly focused around the septuple circumambulation of the Ka’bah in a counter-clockwise way. Muslims consider the Ka’bah to be the most sacred topographic point on Earth. They besides believe that the foundations of the Ka’bah were ab initio laid by Adam and so later rebuilt by Abraham and his boy Ishmael. The circumambulation of the Ka’bah is called tawaf in Arabic. After the completion of the tawaaf the pilgrims perform the following ritual known as Sa’i. This involves the pilgrims running between two mountain extremums located near the Ka’bah. The Muslim pilgrims execute this ritual as a commemoration to the despairing act of Hagar who was left in the desert with her infant boy and who – out of sheer despair – ran from one mountain extremum to the other in hunt of H2O for her thirsty boy Ishmael. Muslims believe that the rites that they are executing are symbolic of the lives and actions of Abraham and his married woman Hagar. The pilgrim performs seven circuits of this re-enactment.

The following major rite associated with the pilgrim’s journey to Mecca involves the pilgrims going to Mount Arafat which is located to the E of Mecca. This ritual is performed on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah which is the 2nd twenty-four hours of the hadj. This twenty-four hours is besides known as “ the twenty-four hours of Arafat. ” It is here where the pilgrims spend the twenty-four hours in low invocation to God. The pilgrims are encouraged to take a moral stock list of their life and to contemplate their life and their hereafter. The pilgrims besides seek God ‘s clemency and forgiveness. The minute is besides extremely symbolic as Muslims believe that it was on Mount Arafat the Prophet Muhammad made his well known farewell discourse in the concluding twelvemonth of his life.

The 3rd rite of the pilgrim’s journey is the lapidation of the Satan. It takes topographic point in the metropolis of Mina which is E of Mecca and occurs over the class of a three twenty-four hours period. The pilgrims must garner pebbles to fling at three different walls all of which represent the Satan harmonizing to Islamic tradition. Again this holds of import historical significance to Muslims as they believe they are symbolically re ordaining a ritual performed by Abraham himself. The spiritual significance of this ritual along with the old rites will be expanded upon in the 2nd portion of this paper. The lapidation of the Satan is arguably the most unsafe ritual performed during the pilgrim’s journey. There have been legion documented cases of pilgrims being injured either by errant pebbles or by a stampede caused by the big figure of pilgrims taking portion in the rite.

After the public presentation of the three major rites associated with Hajj – circumambulation of the Kabah, going to Mount Arafat, and the lapidation of the Devil – the pilgrims celebrate Eid-ul-Adha or the festival of forfeit. The pilgrims either forfeit an carnal themselves or set up for an animate being to be sacrificed by person else. The slaughtered meat is so divided into three parts. With one part traveling to the needy, another part is distributed to relations, while the 3rd part is retained by the pilgrim for personal ingestion. This ritual besides holds a great trade of significance as it is meant to reflect the forfeit that Abraham was willing to do out of his devotedness to God.

Part B

There is a enormous sum of spiritual significance associated with the rite of the Hajj pilgrim’s journey. The fact that it is one of the five pillars of Islam means that it represents one the basic obligatory Acts of the Apostless in the life of a Muslim. Many bookmans from within the tradition of Islam believe that to intentionally pretermit the fulfilment of any of the five pillars of Islam is a sedate wickedness. There are legion poetries in the Quran that extol the importance and virtuousnesss of the pilgrim’s journey including the assorted rites contained within it.

Even though the pilgrim’s journey to Mecca is frequently dated to the clip of the Prophet Muhammad, the ritual really dates back much further. Muslims trace the spiritual significance of the pilgrim’s journey to the clip of Abraham and his boy Ishmaeel. Similar to the beliefs held by Christians and Jews, Muslims believe in Abraham as the patriarch of monotheism. All three spiritual traditions believe in the compact made between God and Abraham. God invariably tested Abraham and his household. In return for Abraham ‘s obeisance, devotedness, and forfeits, God promised to honor Abraham through his progeny. God promised Abraham and Ishmael that they would give rise to a great state. Muslims interpret their pilgrim’s journey to Mecca as portion of the fulfilment of that promise.

The sacred shrine known as the Ka’bah besides hold enormous spiritual significance to Muslims. Muslims face towards the way of the Ka’bah during their five day-to-day supplications ; it basically serves as the focal point of their spiritual life. Contained within the Ka’bah is something known as the black rock. Muslims believe that the black rock is sacred and that it was delivered from Paradise to Abraham and his boy Ishmael by heavenly angels. Muslims believe that the black rock was ab initio white, but overtime, it became blackened due to the evildoings of world.

Another facet of the pilgrim’s journey to Mecca is the rite of going to Mina in order to see Mount Arafat. Mount Arafat holds a great trade of spiritual significance for Muslims due to the fact that Muslims believe that Arafat represents the beginnings of world on Earth. Harmonizing to Muslim tradition, it was on Mount Arafat where Adam was reunited with Eve about two-hundred old ages after their descent from Heaven and their ejection from the Garden of Eden. Previous to the reunion, Adam lived on Earth in a province of sorrow, desperation, and solitariness. The reunion is symbolic of Adam ‘s penitence being accepted by God and it besides represents God giving Adam a 2nd opportunity. That symbolic significance is why Muslims utilize their clip at Mount Arafat to inquire God to forgive their ain evildoings in life.

The ritual lapidation of the Satan besides holds a great trade of spiritual significance. Muslim tradition holds that Abraham was ordered by the arch-angel Gabriel to lapidate the Satan on three separate occasions. Muslims believe that the Satan invariably planted seeds of uncertainty into the head of Abraham when he was ordered to do his celebrated forfeits. The lapidation of the Satan by Abraham represents Abraham rejecting the enticements of the Devil. When Muslims execute the symbolic re-enactment of the ritual lapidation, they believe that they excessively are symbolically disowning the enticements of the Devil while at the same time pulling closer to God.

The Hajj is a cardinal component in the life of Sunni Muslims throughout the universe. Many Muslims consider the pilgrim’s journey to be the high spot of their religious life. For Muslims, the rite is interpreted as an act of obeisance and devotedness to God. Persons within the tradition believe that when one performs the Hajj decently, they return place as a freshly born baby – free of wickedness.

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