The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is the fifth pillar of Islam, and, if possible and affordable, is required of all Muslims. The Hajj takes place during five days. It is during the 8th to the 12th of Zul-Hijjah1 (or Dhul-Hijjah).
1st Day, 8th of Zul-Hijjah – Yaum-Ut-Tarwiyah
Before anything, the pilgrim must pronounce their intention
to perform the pilgrimage. The pilgrim puts on the Ihram2
, and leaves for Mina
after Fajr prayers, or after sunrise
. Mina is a place nearby Mecca.
2nd Day, 9th of Zul-Hijjah – Yaum-Ul Arafah
After leaving Mina during sunrise, the pilgrim heads toward Arafah
. Arafah is a desert
location located about nine miles from Mecca. The pilgrims must stay within the boundaries
of Arafah which has in it, the Mountain of Rahmah
(Mountain of Mercy
). After sunset
the pilgrim goes to an area called Muzdalifah
. Muzdalifah is a desert location which is between Mina and Arafah. The pilgrim collects about 70 pea-size pebble
s, and then spends the entire night there. The pebbles should not be too big—they should be anywhere between 1-1.5 cm.
3th Day, 10th of Zul-Hijjah – Yaum-Un-Nahr
The pilgrims go to Mina before sunrise. Before midday
, the pilgrims stone the Jamrat al-Kubra
or the Jamrat al-Aqabah
. Stoning these pillars symbolizes stoning the devil
. These pebbles must touch the inside of the Jamrat’s (pillar
s) fence. The pilgrim stones the the first Jamrah, then the middle, and finally the big one, hitting each with a total of 7 pebbles.
Then the pilgrim must sacrifice
an animal. The choices include a sheep
of a cow
or a camel
, which may be shared by other people. One third of the meat can be consumed, one third must be offered as a gift
, and one third must be distributed to the poor
.. This sacrifice may take place any day between the 10th
Then, the pilgrim may shave
, remove the Ihram and change into everyday clothes.
Then comes the joy
ous day for Muslims worldwide—Eid-Al-Adha
. It is celebrated during the 10th
day of Zul-Hijjah. It commemorates the story of the Prophet Ibrahim
) willing to sacrifice his son Ismael
The pilgrim then returns to Mecca, and then later returns to Mina, where he/she stays until the 12th
and throws more pebbles.
4th Day, 11th of Zul-Hijjah
The throwing of the pebbles continues.
5th Day, 12th of Zul-Hijjah
The same procedures as the 4th
day take place. The pilgrim may decide to stay until the 13th
day of Zul-Hijjah, which would require throwing the pebbles that day, as well.
The pilgrim then enters Mecca again, and performs a final Tawaf3
Tawaf). The Hajj is completed at this point.
1. Zul-Hijjah is the 12th month in the Islamic calendar.
2. The Ihram is a white cloth which is worn and is the only covering of the body allowed when performing Hajj or Umrah. With the Ihram on, certain acts are prohibited, such as removing any hair, clipping nails, putting on any sort of perfume or fragrance, engaging in sexual intercourse, and more.
3. The Tawaf is a circumambulation where the pilgrim goes around the Ka’aba a total of seven times, while reciting some prayers.