What is the Hajj | Learn Nusuk Hajj | Pilgrimage
Millions of Muslims from all around the world gather at Makkah to perform the Hajj pilgrimage every year. During one of the holiest months in Islam, Muslims from all walks of life come together. They shed their worldly adornments and enter into the state of ihram. The Hajj pilgrimage is among the five basic pillars of Islam.
Performing the holy pilgrimage is obligatory for every Muslim who can financially and physically do so. Since the Hajj can be performed only during specific dates in Dhul Hijja, the pilgrimage witnesses millions of pilgrims. For instance, around 2.3 million Muslims performed Hajj in 2009, which rose to over 3.1 million in 2012.
The growing trend has been encouraged due to better travel opportunities and steps taken by the Saudi government to expand the capacity of pilgrims it can host. Except for 2020 and 2021, when COVID-19 restrictions were in place, an increasing number of Muslims perform the Hajj every year. It is important to understand Hajj and the deep meaning behind the pilgrimage to know its significance in Islam.
Hajj- What is the Pilgrimage All About?
Hajj, not to be confused with Umrah, is a major pilgrimage that Muslims must perform at least once. It is compulsory for any Muslim with the means and capability to undertake the journey and perform the different acts of worship that make up the Hajj.
While Hajj can only be performed between the 8th and 13th Dhul Hijja, no restriction is imposed on the performing of Umrah. Manasik Umrah is different from Hajj, and it is better to study these to make a good comparison.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) commands believers to perform the Hajj pilgrimage in the following verses of the Holy Quran:
“And complete the hajj and umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals…”(2:196)
The pilgrimage resolves around the idea of sacrifice and what we are willing to give up for the sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)’s pleasure. The Hajj is the ultimate sacrifice as it requires believers to leave their homes, belongings, and all their worldly obligations behind and devote a few days purely to remember Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) and follow His commands.
The pilgrimage also symbolizes the sacrifices made by Hazrat Hajra (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهَا), Hazrat Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and Hazrat Ismail عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ at the command of their Lord (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). It is the willingness to submit and surrender to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) that is at the heart of the pilgrimage.
Hajj in Practice
The Hajj is incomplete without specific acts that pilgrims must perform. In its simplest form, Hajj is a journey consisting of rituals and prayers. Pilgrims begin their Hajj by arriving in Makkah and donning the ihram to perform the Hajj.
Muslims must adhere to certain restrictions in the state of ihram. These include actions like having sexual relations, cutting their hair or nails, combing their hair, and even putting on perfume.
Hajj pilgrims complete the seven anticlockwise circumambulations of the Holy Kaaba, performing the Tawaf. The next step is to go seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, and this ritual is known as Sai.
8th Dhul Hijjah marks the first day of the pilgrimage, and pilgrims leave for Mina after offering Fajr prayers. Upon reaching Mina, they pray the Dhur and Asr prayers together and the Maghrib and Isha prayers together—they spend the entire day and night at Mina.
The next stop is Arafat. Pilgrims leave Mina after the morning prayer on the 9th Dhul Hijjah to reach Arafat in time for the congregation prayer. Pilgrims gather at Arafat and offer prayers. It is said that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) will gather the entire human race at the Plain of Arafat on the Day of Judgement. This is why pilgrims must humble themselves and seek for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)’s forgiveness while at Arafat.
Dhur and Asr prayers are offered together at Arafat, but pilgrims leave for Muzdalifah right after sunset to pray Maghrib and Isha combined once they reach Muzdalifah. Aside from offering prayers, pilgrims gather stones at Muzdalifah to perform the ritual stoning of the devil in the morning.
On the morning of the 10th Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims travel from Muzdalifah to Mina to perform Rami al-Jamarat. Each pilgrim throws seven stones at the Jamarat al-Aqabah. The ritual can be completed at any time between sunrise and sunset. the ritual stoning of the devil marks the final ritual of the Hajj, after which animal sacrifice is made, and pilgrims cut their hair or shave; this practice is called the Halak.
Tawaf-e-Ziyarat is performed at the Kaaba. The next day, pilgrims continue to stone the devil, and some may even do so on the 12th of Dhul Hijjah. Pilgrims return to Makkah to perform the Tawaf al-Wadaa. The farewell tawaf concludes the Hajj, after which many pilgrims go to Madinah to visit the Masijid-e-Nabvi.
Nusuk Hajj-Making Performing the Hajj Convenient
The Hajj is a financially and physically taxing worship. The rituals of Hajj require pilgrims to travel between various places, all while worshiping continuously. It is laborious and exhausting. This is why the Hajj and Umrah Ministry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has introduced the Nusuk Hajj. The service provides a one-window operation platform for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.
Pilgrims can conveniently make bookings for plane tickets, hotels, taxis, and any other service they may need on the Nusuk Hajj platform. Applicants can submit documents online and apply for either Hajj or Umrah from the comfort of their homes. Nusuk Hajj is available in mobile application and website versions, so users can always remain updated on the status of their applications.
Users can select from various packages and even browse through different offers and deals that service providers offer. For instance, Labaik Tours LLCoffers a Hajj package under the supervision of Nusuk Hajj, a Saudi government organization. This means the chances of getting scammed or misled are zero.
Being misled and offered a poor service should be the least of your worries as a traveler, much less a pilgrim. Nusuk Hajj also connects you to various services that make your Hajj or Umrah a wonderful experience. There are some excellent services available, such as Umrahlimo.
So, what is Umrahlimo? Umrahlimo is the most reliable taxi service that you can order to aid you in your Hajj or Umrah travels. You can order any car, ranging from a luxury Sedan to a Hiroof. Each car is in top-quality shape and has a driver to help you navigate your way. it is a service you must avail to ensure your pilgrimage is comfortable. It is necessary to employ such services for anyone who can afford them so you can offer all the rituals without getting physically or mentally stressed. This way, you can focus on worshipping.
The Fifth Pillar
The Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam, for those who can, performing Hajj at least once in their lifetime is obligatory. It is truly a unique experience, as pilgrims are unified and made equal during the Hajj. Dig deep to learn about the critical thinking of Islam.
People from all walks of life and from all around the world gather as one to glorify Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). It reminds us of our insignificance as we become part of the sea of humans dressed identically, all rushing from one place to another seeking Allah’s (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) favor and forgiveness.
It is necessary that we strive to complete our obligations towards our Lord (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) and fulfil our duties towards Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). Hajj is a critical piece of the building that completes our faith.