In our Islam, Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage performed in Mecca (Holy city) in Saudi Arabia.
Embark on a transformative journey with our step-by-step Hajj guide, offering invaluable insights and practical tips.
It is known to be one of the five pillars of Islam and is considered a religious obligation for every Muslim who can afford it.
Hajj Dates 2023
Hajj takes place during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, which is the twelfth and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
For us as a Muslim, it is considered the largest annual gathering of Muslims from around the world in Saudi Arabia.
In 2023, Hajj days starts from Jun 26, 2023 continues until Jul 1st, 2023.
The main rituals of Hajj are performed within five to six days.
The pilgrims arrive a week prior to the start date and extend their stay for an additional week.
“The reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing but Paradise.”Sunan Ibn Majah
This hadith highlights the immense reward and significance of performing Hajj with sincerity and devotion.
It reflects the life and actions of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and serves as a symbol of unity among Muslims.
During Hajj, all pilgrims wear the same simple white garments, known as Ihram, symbolizing equality and the removal of worldly distinctions.
Performing Hajj is believed to cleanse a person of their sins and earn them spiritual rewards.
وَاَتِمُّوا الۡحَجَّ وَالۡعُمۡرَةَ لِلّٰهِؕ
And complete the Hajj and ‘umrah for Allah..Quran 2:196
In this verse, Muslims are urged to perform both the major Hajj and the lesser Umrah pilgrimages in order to seek Allah’s pleasure and fulfill their religious obligations.
Hajj provides an opportunity for Muslims, to disconnect from worldly distractions and focus on their relationship with Allah.
It is a time of prayer, reflection, and devotion, allowing pilgrims to deepen their spirituality and strengthen their faith.
Hajj brings Muslims together having diverse backgrounds, cultures, and languages in Saudi Arabia.
It fosters a sense of community, brotherhood, and solidarity among the pilgrims, reinforcing the global Muslim identity.
The history of Hajj dates back to the time of the Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) in Islamic tradition. According to Islamic belief, Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام and his son Hazrat Ismail (عليه السلام) were commanded by Allah to build the Kaaba, the sacred house of worship in Mecca.
Hajj commemorates the actions and sacrifices of Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام, his wife Hajra, and his son Ismail.
In Islamic history, Ibrahim received a command from Allah in a dream to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (Ishmael). His son was informed about the divine instruction by his father, Ibrahim عليه السلام, who was deeply devoted to God. Ismail, being a righteous and obedient son, willingly agreed to be sacrificed for Allah. As Ibrahim عليه السلام and Ismail prepared for the sacrifice, God intervened and replaced Ismail with a ram at the last moment. As a symbol of the concept of sacrifice and devotion in Islam, Ibrahim’s act illustrates his unwavering faith and willingness to obey God’s commands.
The celebration of Eid ul-Adha recalls Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah, his faith, his selflessness, and his gratitude. Muslims believe that Eid ul-Adha is a way to honor Ibrahim’s example and reaffirm their own commitment to God.
The rituals performed during Hajj reenact their experiences, such as the search for water by Hagar and the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah.
They established the foundations of the Kaaba and laid the black stone, which is believed to be a stone from Paradise.
Hajj has been practiced by Muslims since the time of Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم, who performed Hajj in the year 632 AD, shortly before his death.
Pilgrimage Sites to visit during Hajj
The key locations involved in the Hajj e Akbar pilgrimage are centered in and around Mecca. They include:
- Masjid al-Haram: This is the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which houses the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam. Pilgrims perform Tawaf, which is circling the Kaaba seven times in a counterclockwise direction. The green signal (on one side) is present to ensure that one Chakar completed, as same way we do seven chakars around Kaaba.
- Mount Arafat: Pilgrims gather at the plain of Arafat, located about 20 kilometers southeast of Mecca. It is considered the most important aspect of Hajj, where pilgrims spend the day in prayer and reflection.
- Muzdalifah: Muzdalifah is also known as al-Mashar al-Haram. After sunset, pilgrims move to Muzdalifah, where they spend the night under the open sky and collect pebbles for the ritual of Stoning the Devil.
- Mina: Pilgrims travel to Mina by bus or foot. The pilgrims spend a full day and night in the tents at Mina hajj after reaching the blessed destination for several days. They perform the symbolic stoning of three pillars representing Satan, which is known as the Stoning of the Devil. This event is commonly called Layali al Tashriq.
- Kaaba: The cubic structure covered in black cloth at the center of Masjid al-Haram, towards which we direct our prayers. Every Muslim who makes the pilgrimage is required to walk around the Kaaba seven times, during which people kisses and touches the Black Stone which is known as Hajar e Aswad.
- Well of Zamzam: Located in the Mataf area within Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Zamzam well is a thriving miracle. Due to the miracle of Prophet Ismail (عليه السلام) and Hajrah (عليه السلام), the Zamzam well has supplied water for more than 4000 years. Muslims collects Zamzam from the Zamzam well when they visit the Holy Kaaba for Hajj. Zamzam water is said to have miraculous healing properties.
Performing Hajj actions
Performing Hajj is a significant undertaking and involves a series of rituals pilgrims must follow.
Here is a general seven steps involved in Hajj and some key places to visit:
Once in Mecca, pilgrims perform the some rituals before Hajj like as
Before entering the state of Ihram, pilgrims must bathe and dress in special white seamless garments. Ihram signifies the start of the pilgrimage and involves specific restrictions, such as avoiding certain actions and behaviors.
Pilgrims enter the Masjid al-Haram and perform Tawaf, which involves circling the Kaaba seven times in a counterclockwise direction.
During Sa’i, pilgrims walk or run seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa, which commemorates Hagar’s search for water when she was left in the desert with their son Ismail (Ishmael).
It is followed by Sa’i between Safa and Marwa after the pilgrims complete the stoning rituals in Mina. This ritual completes the Hajj pilgrimage.
Day of Tarwiyah
On the 8th of Dhu al-Hijjah, pilgrims travel to Mina, a tent city located east of Mecca, and spend the night there. The pilgrims spend a full day and night in the tents at Mina after reaching the blessed destination for several days. They perform the symbolic stoning of three pillars representing Satan, which is known as the Stoning of the Devil. This event is commonly called Layali al Tashriq.
Day of Arafat
On the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, pilgrims gather at the plain of Arafat. This is considered the most important day of Hajj. Pilgrims spend the day engaged in supplication, prayer, and reflection, seeking forgiveness and mercy from Allah.
After sunset on the Day of Arafat, pilgrims move to Muzdalifah, where they spend the night under the open sky. They collect pebbles here for the ritual of Stoning the Devil. Muzdalifah is also known as al-Mashar al-Haram.
فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُم مِّنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ عِندَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ ۖ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِن كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّالِّينَ
But when you depart from Arafat, remember Allah at al-Mashar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray.[Surah al-Baqarah 2:198]
Stoning the Devil
During Dhu al-Hijjah, pilgrims return to Mina and perform stoning the devil ritual. They throw pebbles at Jamarat, a trio of pillars that symbolize rejection of evil temptations. This ritual is performed over the next three days (10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah).
Eid al-Adha is a festival of sacrifice which takes place on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, marking Hazrat Ibrahim’s عليه السلام willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, in obedience to Allah.
لِّيَشْهَدُوا۟ مَنَـٰفِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا۟ ٱسْمَ ٱللَّهِ فِىٓ أَيَّامٍۢ مَّعْلُومَـٰتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّنۢ بَهِيمَةِ ٱلْأَنْعَـٰمِ ۖ فَكُلُوا۟ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا۟ ٱلْبَآئِسَ ٱلْفَقِيرَ
so they may obtain the benefits ˹in store˺ for them,1 and pronounce the Name of Allah on appointed days over the sacrificial animals He has provided for them. So eat from their meat and feed the desperately poor.Quran 22:28
As an act of remembrance, pilgrims sacrifice an animal (usually a sheep or goat). The meat is distributed to the needy.
Before leaving Mecca, pilgrims perform a final Tawaf called Tawaf al-Wida (Farewell Tawaf) to bid farewell to the Kaaba.
The Hajj pilgrimage culminates in the celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, where animals are sacrificed to commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim’s عليه السلام willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.
Saudian’s Policies for Qurbani
In Saudi Arabia, Qurbani are performed through Islamic Relief field offices who purchase and slaughter animals locally and sacrificed according to Islamic guidelines.
Such as during Hajj, farmer & processor are processing and distributing meat for many years.
They will prepare and pack all of the animals on Eid, and then distribute all the meat the next day to those in need. In Saudi Arabia, this is handled by many teams there such as IGI members.
Many families not making the Hajj, do their Qurbani at home, or at a local abattoir.
When done at a local abattoir, the cost is kept low by donating the hides, which are then sold to make leather.
However, most meat is consumed by the family and their guests, and at least a third is dispensed to the needy, usually personally.
Hajj pilgrims must use the Hajj abattoir, which allows you to slaughter your animal free of charge and choose what to do with the meat.
If you would like, you can take it yourself and distribute it to the needy of Makkah. This option is quickly ruled out due to the amount of meat available.
There are scroungers posing as beggars who steal your meat and use it for commercial purposes.
The better option is to donate it to the Abattoir, which stores it, butchers it, and freezes it for distribution.
In Saudi Arabia, Hajj services distribute some meat to the needy, but most of it is sent to countries in need, such as Somalia, Yemen, etc.
Al-Rajhi Bank also offers a Qurbani service that accepts payments in your name and slaughters animals for you.
Islamic organization, after sacrificing distribute meat to needy person.
In circumstances where livestock supplies are limited in a specific country (such as limited local supplies, natural disasters, etc., animals are sourced and slaughtered abroad, then shipped back.
فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُم مَّنَـٰسِكَكُمْ فَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ ءَابَآءَكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًۭا ۗ فَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُۥ فِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَـٰقٍۢ
When you have fulfilled your sacred rites, praise Allah as you used to praise your forefathers ˹before Islam˺, or even more passionately. There are some who say, “Our Lord! Grant us ˹Your bounties˺ in this world,” but they will have no share in the Hereafter.Quran 2:200
This verse encourages pilgrims to remember Allah abundantly and engage in remembrance, supplication, and gratitude during and after completing the Hajj rituals.
Hajj is considered necessary among Muslims for several reasons
In Islam, Hajj is regarded as a sacred pilgrimage that connects Muslims with their historical roots but also strengthens their faith, fosters unity, and provides a profound spiritual experience.
Fasting in Hajj Days
If a person is not performing Hajj but wishes to fast during these days, they may do so.
During the days of Hajj, fasting is not required for pilgrims who are performing the rituals of Hajj.
On the 9th, 10th, and 11th of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, Hajj pilgrims are recommended not to fast
Fasting during these days is based on the practice of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, who did not fast during the Hajj.
In order to perform the Hajj rituals and be in a state of strength and good health during the Hajj days, pilgrims must walk extensive distances, perform several rituals, and endure the elements.
Those who are not performing Hajj, however, are still encouraged to fast on the Day of Arafat as this day holds great significance and fasting on it is believed to expiate sins of previous and upcoming years.
The decision ultimately depends on individual circumstances, health, and ability to perform the rituals of Hajj comfortably.
You can also check our Guide on Ramadan in Saudi Arabia 2023 – A Comprehensive Guide! for your next year preparation.
Preparation and Prerequisites
"That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention Allah's name on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals..." (Quran 22:28)
According to this verse, one of the purposes of Hajj is to witness and experience the benefits and blessings that come with it, including sacrificing animals for Allah.
For a comfortable and smooth pilgrimage, it is essential to pack essential items and clothing before Hajj.
Here are some necessary things and clothing to carry during Hajj
During Hajj, men wear two white unstitched sheets, while women have the option of wearing loose, modest clothing that covers their bodies. It’s advisable to pack extra Ihram clothing just in case.
Hajj involves a lot of walking, so make sure the footwear you choose provides good support and can withstand long distances.
Make sure you keep soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, towels, and unscented wipes in your carry-on to adhere to the strict rules against wearing strong perfumes during Ihram.
Make sure you have sufficient supplies of any medications you may require for your Hajj journey, so keep them in their original packaging.
You can carry your essentials, such as water, snacks, personal items, and a small prayer mat, in a backpack or bag that is lightweight and comfortable.
As Saudi Arabia has a hot climate, carry sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a lightweight umbrella or sunshade if you are sensitive to the sun.
Drinking water is essential during Hajj, so carry a refillable water bottle. Also, carry non-perishable snacks such as energy bars, dried fruits, and nuts.
Make sure to keep your passport, visa, identification cards, and copies of important documents in a secure and easily accessible place. Be sure to carry enough local currency and a secure way to carry money for expenses.
To stay connected and ensure your phone remains charged, carry a portable phone charger or power bank.
Registration and Pick up facilities
Hajj can also be booked by many online sources such as Mobily offer Hajj and Umrah Packages.
Pilgrims who had never performed the Hajj rituals before will be able to apply to perform Hajj 2023 until Dhu Al-Hijjah 7, corresponding to 25 June 2023.
According to Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, individuals can Register online or by booking package through the official Nusuk Hajj Platform.
According to the Government of Pakistan, the fee scheme for Hajj 2023 is PKE 490,000 while in Saudi Arabia, there are four categories of Hajj packages available for the locals and residents this year, with the cost ranging from SAR 3,984 to SAR 11,841.
After reaching to Saudi Arabia, there are many hajj terminals are ready to pick pilgrimage to their destinations.
Like as, if you are from Jeddah their is airport and also have facility of hajj terminals for pick up services.
In recent years, there is annual destination of about 2.5 million pilgrims.
Activities Avoid During Hajj
During the Hajj mabroor, there are certain activities that pilgrims are advised to avoid in order to maintain the sanctity and proper conduct of the pilgrimage.
"Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not have sexual relations with his wife (during Hajj), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him." (Sahih al-Bukhari)
This hadith emphasizes the importance of maintaining purity, righteousness, and avoiding sinful behaviors during the pilgrimage.
Here are some activities that should be avoided during Hajj:
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May Allah accept your Hajj and Dua’s.
Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is considered a religious obligation for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Hajj is considered the largest annual gathering of Muslims from around the world in Saudi. In order to perform Hajj, pilgrims must obtain a valid passport, visa, and other travel documents. For accommodations, transportation, and other logistical arrangements, it is advisable to contact a travel agency or Hajj tour operator. For pilgrims’ safety, the Saudi government implements crowd management strategies, provides medical services, and maintains strict regulations to prevent accidents and maintain order during Hajj.