Hajj is the pilgrimage for Muslims to the holy city of Mecca. It is the fifth pillar of Islam and is obligatory once in life to those Muslims who are economically and physically capable to accomplish this. The sacred book Quran narrates in short, “It is on people for the sake of Allah to perform Hajj of his house, anyone who is able to undertake the journey to him.” [The Quran 2.196]
The pilgrims should wear simple white garments during Hajj. This is instructed to remove the discrimination of wealth, races and countries among the pilgrims. There are some compulsory actions which the pilgrims accomplish during the whole period of Hajj. The actions include circling the Kaaba (the cuboid house build in the center of the Grand Mosque), passing between the mountains of Safa and Marwah and throwing of stones at three stone columns. Every action of Hajj has some own internal story and significance.
The kaaba was built by Ibrahim (pbuh) and his son Ismail (pbuh) as the house of worship. This house is considered as the House of Allah and the most sacred place for Muslims. Muslims from all over the world face the Kaaba during their regular Prayers. During hajj also the pilgrims circles around Kaaba saying, “Here I am God, answering your call. Here I am.”
Muslims travel forth and back between mountains of Safa and Marwah seven times during pilgrimage. It resembles the run of Ibrahim’s wife, Hajar. She ran between the mountains in search of water, calling Allah for her son Ismail. And when she returned to his son she found a spring (now known as Zamzam Well) flowing from the ground. This shows the mercy of our kind Lord. To remember the mercy of Allah and seeking his kindness the pilgrims follow the run of Hajar.
Stoning to the Jamarat (three walls constructed in the city of Mina) during Hajj also has a historical significance. When Ibrahim (pbuh) left Mina and was brought down to Al-Aqaba, the devil appeared three times to stop him. Every time he Pelted the devil and it disappeared from him. In Hajj all the three Jamarat represent the devil and stoning to them symbolizes those rebukes of Devil.
Allah has mentioned the obligation in performing Hajj to the Muslims who can afford it.
“Perform the pilgrimage and the visit (to Mecca) for Allah.” [The Quran 2.196]
Our beloved prophet has stated, “O people! Allah had ordained farz (obligatory) the worship of Hajj. Hurry to perform the Hajj.” [At Muslim]
Visit to Kaaba is unique to Muslims. The Christians and Jews are not bound to perform Hajj. In Hadith it is mentioned, “He who possess enough food for the trip, a means of transportation to reach to Mecca,yet does not perform Hajj, then he dies, he would then die as a Jew or a Chriatian.” [At Trimidhi]
Hajj involves both physical and financial expenditure and needs more effort than other worships. It is dear to Allah as Jihad as he mentioned it in Quran after the verses of Jihad. It is reported that when Aishah (1st wife of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh)) asked our Prophet whether Jihad is obligatory for women, “Yes, for them there is a Jihad in which there is no fighting, Hajj and Umrah.”