What are the stages of hajj
- Author- Rose Mary
- Publish Date-
It is an indisputable fact that millions of Muslims tend to gather in Mecca in anticipation to participate in the program Hajj which is the Muslim pilgrimage that follows the teachings of Prophet Muhammad which started around 1,377 years ago. This pilgrimage is conducted only once a year which makes it an auspicious ceremony for the Muslims who attend it. It is said that at least once in their lifetime Muslims ought to attend this pilgrimage and about two to three million people do attend this ritual annually. Wondering what are the stages of Hajj? Well, there are various stages that one must go through to complete the pilgrimage of Hajj. The stages are given below:
The first stage contains of entering Ihram which is also called as a pilgrim’s sacred state. This happens when a pilgrim tend to cross the outer boundaries of Mecca also called the Miqat. It is on the eight-day of Dhul Hijjah that the pilgrims enter ihram which mainly consists of the pilgrims wearing plain garments which includes two unstitched clothes for men while for women it includes loose-fitting clothes. This particular stage also needs that they do not express any feelings of either anger or sexual desires.
Heading over to Mina:
Mina also called the sprawling city is the second stage of Hajj. The pilgrims after entering ihram set out from Mecca to the city of Mina which is done either on foot or by taking the bus.Thsi journey is a total of 8 kilometers from Mecca. The pilgrims, later on, stay the day in Mina and then set out the next dawn. Most of the time that the pilgrims stay here in Mina they spend their day in prayers and by remembering Allah.
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Spending the day at Arafat:
The third stage includes the pilgrims setting out to Mount Mercy where the last sermon of Prophet Mohammad was conducted. The total journey ranges 14.4 km from Mina and the pilgrims spend their day praying. The day of Arafat is a day that is holy not only during the Hajj pilgrimage but also throughout the entire Islamic calendar. While the pilgrims do pray and fast the rest of the Muslims around the world also observe fast to maintain the holiness of the day.
Collecting pebbles at Muzdalifah:
It is after the sunset that they start moving onto their next location which is Muzdalifah which is again a 9-kilometer trip. They spend a night here under the starry sky in peace and worship Allah and keep on meditating while chanting the prayers. A lot of people also tend to collect pebbles over here which will be needed for the next day’s ceremony.
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Throwing stones at the Pillars:
For the pilgrims who are on the Hajj pilgrimage refer to this day as the Yawm-up hajj al-Akbar also commonly called as the big Hajj day. This is one of the longest and the most dangerous day of the pilgrimage. The 10th day of Dhul Hijjah is Eid al-Adha which is an international Muslim holiday that is celebrated all around the world. It is also considered as one of the two big days of the Islamic calendar.
Even before the dawn rises in Muzdalifah, the pilgrims start heading back to Mina. Once the pilgrims reach Mina they tart performing rami which is the first event of throwing seven stones at one of the largest of three columns called the Jamarat. This act indicates the stoning of the devil which is a historical ritual. As the story goes, it is believed that Gold told Abraham to sacrifice his own son and it was at this spot in Mina where satan tried to dissuade Abraham from not heeding to the command of God. Abraham during such a condition used stones to cast off satan. To commemorate the same this ceremony is conducted.
This particular site where the three pillars stand is also considered a deadly place as has been stampeded with about 350 people being crushed to death in 2006. In the recent years, however, the program is conducted much more peacefully which has led a lot of pilgrims to not worry about their safety.
After they complete these rituals pilgrims go on to slaughter either a sheep or a goat to keep the age-old tradition of sacrifice.
The final stage of Hajj:
The final stage of hajj includes visiting Mina again and traveling to Mecca to perform the final farewell tawaf. It is also seen that a lot of people also visit Medina which is the place where prophet Mohammad rests in peace. This however is not a part of Hajj pilgrimage and people can go on their own will.
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This was all about the various stages included in Hajj and how each stage exudes importance about the religion and culture followed by the Muslims.