“Dhu al-Hijjah” means “Possessor of the Pilgrimage” or “The Month of the Pilgrimage”. During this month Muslim pilgrims from all around the world congregate at Mecca to visit the Kaaba. The Hajj is performed on the eighth, ninth and the tenth of this month. Day of Arafah takes place on the ninth of the month. Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice”, begins on the tenth day and ends on sunset of the 13th.
Hajj is a Muslim pilgrimage to the Holy City of Makkah in Saudi Arabia that takes place once a year. Muslims from all over the world travel to Makkah each year to perform the five-day hajj. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. All Muslims who are physically fit and able to travel are required by Islam to visit Makkah (Hajj) at least once in their lives.
When one arrives in Makkah, they are entered into a sacred state of purity known as ihram. The first part of the pilgrimage is tawaf, which involves pilgrims walking seven times around the Kaaba. This is to illustrate that all Muslims are equal.
Next is the journey to walk seven times between the mountains of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah.
Third, at dawn pilgrims go 7 miles upward from Mina to Mount Arafat to pray. The Prophet Muhammad is said to have given his final sermon on Mount Arafat. On this day, pilgrims make dua for forgiveness and guidance.
The fourth component is stoning “shaitan”. They make their way from Muzdalifah to Mina, where they gather rocks in the symbolization of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son. When shaitan tried to talk Ibrahim out of doing this act of sacrificial devotion to God, Ibrahim fought him off with stones.
It is important to follow the Islamic practice of Qurbani and give back to those in need. Qurbani is an important annual practice in which a livestock animal is sacrificed during the holy month of Eid al-Adha. This act honors Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience and love to God. Traditionally, one-third of the meat goes to the poor, one-third is given to a neighbor, and one-third is kept. As the beloved prophet stated, “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.”
On the tenth day of the month, the three-day celebration of Eid al Adha begins. Muslims perform the animal sacrifice known as Qurbani or Udhiya. Eid-ul-Adha honors Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah SWT. Allah SWT replaced Ismail with a ram, which was to be slaughtered in place of his son, right before the sacrifice. This mandate from Allah SWT was a test of Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness and devotion to completely execute his command. As a result, Eid-ul-Adha is known as the sacrifice holiday. Eid Al Adha is defined as a person’s readiness to give up something essential in the name of God. Many Muslims will also donate money or perform community work as part of the celebration.