Islam’s pilgrimage to Mecca, Hajj 2014

What is Hajj?
The annual Hajj pilgrimage is one of the world’s largest gatherings, as hundreds of thousands of people flock to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in one of Islam’s five pillars of faith.

Muslims from all over the world will gather together for five days to pray as one community, celebrating their history and giving thanks for blessings.

From the Masjid Al Haram complex to the hills of Mina, the rites include circling the Kaaba seven times and visiting sites of historical and religious importance.

When is Hajj 2014?
This year’s hajj is expected to fall on October 1-6, though that date depends on the sighting of the moon, as Islam follows a lunar calendar.

Hajj takes place annually on the eighth day of the month of Dhul Al-Hijjah in the Muslim calendar.

It’s considered an obligation for devout Muslims to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime, if they are physically and financially able.

What’s the history of Hajj?
The pilgrimage to Mecca has been going on since pre-Islamic times, as Mecca’s economic prosperity during the time of the Prophet Muhammad was largely due to the income from visitors.

Muslims believe that the steps of the Hajj correlate to the story of Hagar, the second wife of Abraham whom he married after Sarah was childless.

After Abraham left her and her infant son, Ishmael, in the desert, she frantically ran between the hills of Safa and Marwa to look for food and water for her baby after their provisions ran out.

As she prayed to God for mercy, Ishmael’s heel hit the ground and the well of Zam Zam sprang forth to nourish them.

When Abraham returned, he built the Kaaba with Ishmael’s help. Continue reading


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