With Hajj 2016 season upon us, we’re all thinking of the fifth pillar of Islam and our obligation to fulfil it at least once in our lifetime if we’re able.
If you’ve never been on the holy pilgrimage before, you might not be fully aware of all the rituals and procedures involved. But as always, at Ummahsonic towers, we’re on hand to answer the questions you might be too embarrassed to ask about Hajj, so you’ll feel like an expert on the pilgrimage that every Muslim dreams of.
What is the biggest difference between dress requirements for men and women during Hajj?
During Hajj, men are required to dress in Ehraam, which is basically two pieces of non-woven white sheets they wrap themselves up with. Women can wear anything modest as long as they keep the Hijab and NOT cover their face.
Why are people enthusiastic at the Jamaraat in Hajj and start throwing things at stone pillars?
Jamaraat are three pillars next to each other that mark the exact spot where the devil, in human form, tried to persuade Prophet Ibrahim not to follow God’s instructions. Prophet Ibrahim responded to the devil by throwing stones at him and he went away.
Today, millions of Muslims from every corner of the globe commemorate the Prophet’s rejection of the devil by stoning the three pillars.
Some people get really excited and throw big rocks, shoes, pieces of wood, in fact anything they can lay their hands on at the pillars! It’s important to remember that only small pebbles are supposed to be thrown and the ritual is not about pretending to stone the devil but worshipping Allah.
How many times do you have to walk around the Kaaba (make Tawaf), and why?
Circling the Kaaba seven times is one of five rituals performed during Hajj and it is a symbolic act meant to reflect the idea that life should revolve around thoughtful contemplation of God and the prophet.
Why do you have to run between two little mounds (Al-Safa and Al-Marwah) seven times though?
Prophet Ibrahim was ordered by God to leave his wife Hagar and their infant son Ismail alone in the desert near the two mountains, to test their faith. After some time, Hagar ran out of resources and went in search for water.
Climbing Al-Safa first, and then Al-Marwah, Hagar could see her son only when she was on top of each peak. As she climbed each mountain she saw what looked like water on the other mountain and tried to reach it. But the water was a mirage. Having chased the mirage seven times, she returned to her son in the desert to find a spring had burst forth beneath his feet. So they were finally able to drink and revive themselves.
Muslims follow in Hagar’s footsteps and run between the two (now small) mountains to mark their faith in God.
What’s this black stone all about and why does everyone want to kiss it?
The Black Stone of Mecca, or Kaaba Stone, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve and is said to have fallen from heaven, according to Islamic tradition. During Hajj, Muslims try to kiss the stone seven times for each time they went around Kaaba, which is what Prophet Mohamed is said to have done.
Got any more questions on Hajj you want us to answer? Get in touch!