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Outline the background to Hajj

When Hagar & Ishmael were banished from Abraham's camp, they went to Mecca. Hagar became thirsty, but believed "Allah would not let us die." Having run between the hills Safa & Marwa, she found water at the well of Zamzam. Years later, Abraham & Ishmael built a house for Allah from the ruins of one built by Adam.
The Prophet Muhammad was disturbed that the Ka'ba was in disrepair; he repaired it & rededicated it to one god Allah.


What is the Black Stone?

The stone Abraham stood on when building the Ka'ba.
It is considered special for setting the foundation of monotheism.
Now it is set at the corner of the Ka'ba; Muslims perform 2 prayers to it during Hajj.


What is the Ka'ba?

A cubic house in the Great Mosque in Mecca, dedicated to worshipping Allah.
FIrst erected by Adam, rebuilt by Abraham & Ishmael. Rededicated to Allah by the Prophet Muhammad.
Believed the first place of worship.
Symbol of the unity of the Muslim people.
Focus for daily prayer.
During Hajj, it is circled 7 times.


What is the Hajj?

A once-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca (birthplace of Islam) for all adult Muslims who are financially & physically able to do so.
Is the 5th Pillar of Islam.
Can only be made in the 12th month of Islamic calendar, on the 8th to 12th days.
Consists of many ceremonies to symbolise essential concepts of Islamic faith & to remember the trials of Abraham & Hagar.
Is also to free the person from sin, promote feeling of Muslim community (umma) & affirm beliefs.


Outline the Preliminary stages of Hajj (the Umrah)

PUT ON IHRAM: spiritual state of purity, without quarrelling, acts of violence or sexual activity.
Having arrived in Mecca, WUDU (washing) & entering the Great Mosque by the 'Gate of Peace'.
TAWAF: circling of Ka'ba 7 times to glorify God -> "circling… the oldest place of worship on earth, we only obey you the Absolute One worthy of worship."
ABRAHAM'S STATION: 2 rak'ah, then try to touch or kiss it.
WELL OF ZAMZAM: remember Hagar & Ishmael, pray that Allah remember them.
SAFA & MARWA: walk or jog between the 2 hills 7 times


Outline the Main Rituals of Hajj

DAY 1: Mecca to Mina. Night spent in tent cities, praying, resting & reading the Qur'an.
DAY 2: Plain of Arafat to the Mount of Mercy. Prayer, listen to a sermon. After sunset, the Hill of Muzdalifah to pray & gather pebbles. Spend night in the open.
DAY 3 - 5: Pay for sacrifice for Eid. Stone pillars in Mina. Taken off Ihram. Return to Mecca for final Tawaf. Depart Mecca.


How does Hajj express the beliefs of Islam?

ONE GOD: Circling the Ka'ba
Going on Hajj is dedication & submission to him.
Stoning the Pillars (resisting the devil)
ANGELS: Hajj is believed to count on Judgement Day; the guardian angels will take that into account.
BOOKS OF ALLAH => QUR'AN: Muslims commissioned by the Qur'an to perform Hajj; "You shall observe the complete rites of Hajj and`Umrah for GOD."
AHIRA => LIFE AFTER DEATH: is believed to count in favour on Judgement Day.


How is Hajj significant for the Muslim community?

1: Public statement about submission to Allah; inspiration to others; witness to multicultural harmony.
2: Public awareness -> such a big event, draws attention.
3: Community building -> all are equal before Allah (hence Ihram), so no room for racism or discrimination. Helps spread Islam also.


How is Hajj significant for the individual?

… Obedience to the Qur'an, to submit more perfectly to Allah. Is 5th Pillar.
… Physical demands of Hajj inc. air fare, accommodation, Eid sacrifice; inc. Safa & Marwa, standing for 6 hours at Arafat, stoning the pillars, etc. Makes faith more real, shows submission to Allah. Realisation that Allah will always provide.
… Rejection of Devil


Overall meaning of Hajj?

Ultimate submission to Allah & his will.


Meaning of Preliminary rites?

Ihram: to prepare spiritually for Hajj. To be pure so that past sins may be wiped away.
Tawaf: expression of obedience to Allah's will & worshipping him only.
Safa & Marwa: remembering Hagar's struggle.
Well of Zamzam: remembering Allah's mercy, & asking his mercy on them.


Meaning of each main ritual?

The Sermon on the Mount of Mercy: where Adam & Eve found forgiveness from Allah. Also where Muhammad gave his last sermon. Remembering Allah's mercy. Coming together as an entire community, in the worship of Allah under the guidance of Muhammad.
Stoning Pillars in Mina: remembering Abraham's driving the devil away & doing the same.
Eid sacrifice: to remember the poor & provide for them.