Each year in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims in North America and around the world begin observing activities associated with the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Hajj is one of the “five pillars” of the Islamic faith. Hajj activities take place during six days (8th-13th) of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah.
Hajj literally means ‘to set out for a place’. In Islamic terms however it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad.
Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of the Prophet lbrahim [Abraham] and he was the one who was entrusted by Allah to build the Kaba – the House of Allah – along with his son Ismail [Ishmael] at Makkah.
Pilgrimageis a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those Muslims who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey. It is also a form of worship that involves the entire being: body, mind and soul.
The process entails sacrifice of time, sacrifice of money, sacrifice of comfort, sacrifice of several worldly relations and sacrifice of many corporeal desires and pleasures. All this is simply for the sake of Allah, with no selfish end.
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