Hajj is an Arabic term which literally means "to leave for a place". Islamically, it refers to the sacred pilgrimage and the fifth pillar of Islam. Every year, around two million Muslims visit the holy city of Mecca to perform the rituals of Hajj during the last month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar.
IntroductionMuslims do not know that the rites of Hajj were ordained by the Almighty during the time of Prophet Ibrahim (as), to whom Allah SWT entrusted the construction of the Holy Kaaba.
"And remember when We showed Ibrahim the site of the [sacred] House [saying]: Do not associate anything [in worship with Me and purify My House for those who bypass it [i.e. say, perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who prostrate and prostrate [in prayer, etc.].” [Holy Quran, Surah Al-Hajj 22:26]
However, the very first Hajj was performed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his beloved companions in 10AH. Here's everything you need to know about the history of the Hajj.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS)
Prophet Ibrahim (AS), a messenger of Allah SWT who lived 4000 years ago, is not only revered by Muslims but also by Christians and Jews. He was the father of Prophet Ismail (a.s.), the architect of the Holy Kaaba, and one of the most devoted prophets of Allah SWT.
The life story of Prophet Ibrahim (as) is not only mentioned in the Holy Quran but also in the Bible. From being thrown into the household by his own father at a very young age, to being ordered to abandon his wife and son in the middle of nowhere in the desert of Mecca and sacrificing his only son to the name of Allah SWT, Prophet Ibrahim (as) life was filled with tribulations.
However, no matter how difficult the Almighty's ordeal, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) handled every situation with bravery and faith. He trusted in Allah SWT and dedicated his entire life to preaching the message of the Almighty.
Building the Holy Kaaba
According to Islamic scriptures, Allah SWT asked Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) to build the Holy Kaaba, a place of worship near the source of Zamzam water. Prophet Ibrahim (as), along with his son Prophet Ismail (as), worked day and night to build it to be a gathering place for Muslims.
Allah Almighty says: “And [mention] when Ibrahim was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ismail, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed, You are the Hearer, the All-Knower. Our Lord, and make us Muslims [submitted] to You and our descendants a Muslim nation [submitted] to You.
And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the acceptor of repentance, the Merciful. Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Powerful, the Wise. [Holy Quran 2:127-129]
“Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that of Mecca – blessed and guide to the worlds. Where are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Ibrahim; and whoever enters it will be safe. And [owed] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for anyone who is able to find a way to reach it. But whoever disbelieves, then indeed Allah is freed from the need of the worlds. » [Holy Quran Surah Aali Imran (3:96-7)]
When did the first Hajj take place?
The origin of Hajj dates back to 2000 BC. B.C., when Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his son, Prophet Ismail (AS), built the Holy Kaaba as ordered by Allah SWT.
However, the first official pilgrimage (Hajj) took place after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions migrated to Medina and successfully conquered Mecca in 10 AH (632 CE). It is also known as Farewell Hajj, the last pilgrimage and Hajjat-ul-Wida.
What is the purpose of Hajj?
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and therefore Allah SWT has asked all financially and physically capable Muslims to fulfill the obligations of this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj gives Muslims a chance to erase their past sins and have a clean slate.
This gives Muslims a chance to revive their faith and start fresh and live a better and more just life. While performing the rituals of Hajj, Muslims retrace the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), Hajar (RA) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), commemorating their sacrifices and seeking ways to deepen their devotion to Allah SWT.
Allah SWT in the Holy Quran states: "And proclaim to mankind Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep and distant (broad) mountain road (do Hajj ).” [Holy Quran: Surat al-Hajj 22: Ayah 27]
The Holy Kaaba
Located in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Holy Kaaba is the holiest site in Islam. Elegantly draped in a black cotton and silk veil, the Holy Kaaba is the house of Allah SWT. It is also known as Qibla - the direction of prayer for Muslims.
With the intention of performing the pilgrimage (Hajj or Umrah), every year millions of Muslims circumambulate the Holy Kaaba while performing Tawaf.
Why is Hajj important?
The Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said: “When a believer returns home after performing Hajj, he is as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Each Hajj ritual offers pilgrims inner purity, tranquility of heart and fullness in understanding the creations of Allah SWT. Every step the pilgrim takes strengthens his belief in the ultimate authority of Allah SWT.
Why is Hajj important in Islam?
Every individual performing a pilgrimage learns to honor the symbol of Allah SWT. “The first house established for humanity was that of Becca, blessed and guide to the worlds. In it are clear signs: the standing place of Ibrahim.
Anyone who enters will be safe. [Holy Quran 3:96-97] By witnessing these signs, you are reminded of the history of Islam and the struggle for faith, as found in the story of Abraham. God says: “Whoever honors the symbols of God, it is truly out of piety of heart. [Holy Quran 22:32]
Despite the barriers of race, color, nationality and language, when gathered in one place, Muslims learn the value of compassion and unity in the eyes of Allah SWT. “We made the House a place of return for the people and a refuge. [Holy Quran 2:125]
This unites them as a community and strengthens their faith while softening their hearts for one another. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are as one body. When one of the organs suffers, the whole body responds with alertness and fever. (Muslim)
The Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT also said: “The Muslims; their lives are equal, they are united against those who oppose them, the protection offered by the humblest among them is inviolable, and they share with those who are not with them. (Ibn Majah)
However, the reason that highlights the importance of Hajj in Islam is that the Talbiyah declares Islamic monotheism to the world. “I answer Your call, O God, I answer Your call! I answer Your call, You have no partner with You, I answer Your call. All praise, blessings and dominions belong to you, you have no partner.
Throughout all the rituals and actions of Hajj, one confirms the oneness of God and performs each with the sole intention of obeying Allah SWT and following the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). “These are the ones God had guided, so follow this advice.” [Holy Quran 6:90]
Who performed the first Hajj in Islam?
Restoring the traditions of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), the first Hajj of Islam was performed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with 1400 companions in 10AH (632 CE).
How long does the Hajj last?
The obligation of Hajj involves a series of rituals that take place in Mecca over a period of five to six days. Muslims from all over the world start coming to Makkah, Saudi Arabia from the 1st of Dhul-Hijjah to the 7th of Dhul-Hijjah.
However, the main Hajj rituals take place between the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah and the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah.
Importance of Hajj in the Quran and Hadith
Allah SWT in the Holy Quran says: “Where there are clear memorials (of Allah's guidance); the place where Abraham stood up to pray; and whoever enters it is safe. And the pilgrimage to the House is a duty to Allah for humanity, for the one who can find a way to get there.
As for him who disbelieves, (let him know) lo! Allah is Independent of (all) creatures. [Holy Quran, Surah Al 'Imran, 3:97]
“And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] safety.” [Holy Quran 2:125]
“Perform the pilgrimage and visit (to Mecca) for Allah.” [Holy Quran, Surat al Baqara, 2:196]
The Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said: "O people! Allah SWT had ordered fardh the worship of Hajj. Hurry up and perform Hajj. (Muslim)
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: "The Messenger of Allah was asked: 'What is the best action?' He replied: 'Believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad (SAW)).' The questioner then asked, 'Who is next (in goodness)?' He replied, 'To participate in jihad in the cause of Allah.' The questioner asked again: "What is next (in kindness)?" He replied: "To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) 'Mubrur, (which is accepted by Allah and is performed with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure only and not showing off and without committing sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet).'" (Bukhari; Book 2, Hadith 25) (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Maja)
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Whoever performs Hajj to this house (Ka'ba) and does not approach his wife for sexual relations nor commit sins (all by performing Hajj), he will emerge without sin. like a newborn child (just given birth by his mother). (Bukhari, Book 28, Hadith 45)
The mother of the faithful believers, Aisha (RA), reported: “I said: 'O Messenger of Allah! Should we not participate in holy battles and jihad with you? » He replied, 'The best and most superior jihad (for women) is Hajj which is accepted by Allah.' Hadrat 'Aisha (RA) added: "Since I heard this from the Messenger of Allah (SAW), I decided not to miss the Hajj." (Bukhari; 29; 84).
Further read : the concept of Ummah in Islam
Different types of Hajj
Here are the three types of Hajj:
- Hajj Tamattu: Performed during the days of pilgrimage (1 to 10 Dhul-Hijjah), Hajj Tamattu is accompanied by Umrah, for which one must perform Qurbani (sacrifice) of a sheep separately. After completing Sai and Tawaf for Umrah, the pilgrim is freed from all restrictions of Ihram until the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, when they again enter the state of Ihram with the intention of Hajj.
- Hajj Qiran: It is Umrah followed by Hajj. Hajj Qiran requires the sacrifice of sheep. During Hajj Qiran, the pilgrim wears an Ihram to perform both Hajj and Umrah and remains there until the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah.
- Hajj Ifrad: This does not require the sacrifice of a sheep. During Hajj Ifrad, the pilgrim performs Sai for Hajj and Tawaf al-Qudum, and they must remain in the state of Ihram until the Hajj is completed.
Summary – History of Hajj
Despite the constant revolt of the pagans and idolaters, the Messenger (SAW) of Allah SWT succeeded in abolishing the ignorance of the house of Allah SWT, making Hajj the model of purity, austerity, simplicity, piety and fear of Allah SWT.
Today, as pilgrims visit the Holy Kaaba, every action, from performing Tawaf to Sae through sacrifice (Qurbani), Halq and Taqsir, and drinking Zamzam of water is a reminder of the greatness of 'Allah SWT and the devotion and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Remember, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing less than paradise.”