Outline one significant practice within Islam? The Hajj continually supports the concept of Islam and continues to validate the importance of the submission to Allah, acceptance of the Qur’an and respect to Muhammad to millions of Muslims worldwide. The word Hajj means to ‘to set out for a definite purpose’. Taken place in the holiest city of Islam; Mecca – this was the death place of Muhammad and where he was approached by Allah many years ago.
This pilgrimage is considered to be the most important journey in a Muslim’s life; it is following the footsteps of their Prophet Muhammad and the words of the Qur’an, their most sacred book – the words of Allah written by Muhammad. The Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, making it an obligation for all Muslims to partake in at least once in their lives if possible. If fail to do so when being able to take the pilgrimage, it is considered to be a great sin.
A Muslim must have reached the age of responsibility and be mentally able to take upon the journey, for them to be able to understand the significance of this pillar of Islam. They have to be able to afford the trip; no debts and must of earned the money through honest means. Also to be physically fit to embark on the pilgrimage as it requires a level of fitness to partake in some of the practices along the Hajj. For the men that have taken part in the Hajj, they take upon the title of Hajji and for females; Hajja. Men and women also have to wear the Ihram after ‘purifying their bodies’ – full bath.
The Hajj involves; travelling towards ‘Arafat on 8 Dhul Hijjah, ‘Standing’ at the Arafat from noon to dusk on 9 Dhul Hiija, ‘Stoning the Devil’ and making an animal sacrifice at Mina on 10 Dhul Hijja, cutting or shaving of the hair, making the Tawaf, the ‘Circling’ of the Ka’ba in Mecca and ‘Stoning of the Devil’ at Mina on 11,12 and 13 Dhul Hijja. The pilgrimage takes only 5-6 days however many Pilgrims come earlier to perform the Umrah which is the Lesser Pilgrimage. The first event on the Hajj is the walk counter-clockwise seven times around the Ka’ba. This is the building that Muslims prayer facing towards five times a day.
Pilgrims attempt to touch and kiss the Ka’ba however those who do not raise their hand as they pass. Muslims believe that Adam built the Ka’ba, that noahs’ flood destroyed it, then Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt it and Muhammad rid of all the shines within the building. It is the holiest of all places. Secondly is the ‘Running’ which takes place between two hills called As-Safa and Al-Marwah, by doing this the pilgrims are re-enacting the scene of Hagar and Ishmael frantically searching for water. It is told that an Angel came down from heaven and stabbed its wing into the sand and out poured a overflowing spout of water.
This spring is now called the Zamzam well. Pilgrims are able to bathe their Ihrams at the edge and take some water home with them. Thirdly is the Day of ‘Arafat which is where pilgrims beg forgiveness of their sins. It is a 24km walk from Mecca and requires the pilgrims to be there at Mina from noon to dusk on the 9 Dhul Hajja. This reminds the pilgrims of the Day of Judgment and some pilgrims chose to stay at Mina for two nights to have more time to repent for their sins. They then spend the night at Muzdalifah where they perform the sunset and night prayers. The pilgrims then return to Mina for the ritual of ‘Stoning the Devil’.
This is re-enacting where Abrahams loyalty and love was tested as he was order to kill his son; whilst attempting to do so the Devil appeared three times however Abraham and Ishmael warded the Devil off by throwing stones. Allah then told Abraham not to sacrifice his son, a lamb instead. Each pilgrim throws seven stones at each of the three pillars – by doing this they are expressing their own rejection of evil and their own resolve to withstand any temptations which may come their way. Coming from the stoning and influenced by Abrahams actions; if the pilgrims can afford it, to offer an animal for sacrifice.
One third of the meat is then given and sent to the poor. Men use this time to also cut or shave their hair symbolizing a fresh start. The whole pilgrimage is concluded with seven more circuits around the Ka’ba, more prayers and washing. Link the chosen significant practice from question 1, to the beliefs of Islam The Hajj is the pilgrimage that compliments and features all of the Principle beliefs of Islam, the Aquida. They are; Tawid, Angels, The books of God, The messengers of God, The hereafter and the decree. Tawid is the belief that there is only one God, whom is Allah and that Muhammad is his only prophet.
Muslim’s devotion to Allah is shown with the daily ritual of prayer five times a day facing the Ka’ba, the Ka’ba is the central direct point where Muslims feel closest to Allah and see it as the most important thing within their religion. The pilgrimage starts with the circling of the Ka’ba and ends with the circling of the Ka’ba – this signifies the importance of their devotion to Allah. The belief in Angels is represented in the ‘Running’ between As-Safe and Al-Marwah where an angel appeared from heaven and saved Ishmael and Hagar from dying of thirst.
Muslims believe that each person has a guardian angel and who also protects us from the evils of Satan. The books of God are the Torah, Psalms, the Gospel and the Qur’an – Muslims universal authority. The important Ka’ba is decorated yearly with a new silk blanket with the words of the Qur’an embodied in gold. Throughout the whole pilgrimage, men and women constantly read and speak the words of the Qur’an; especially at the Day of ‘Arafat and the ‘Stoning of the Devil’. These words from the Qur’an are those straight from Allah whom had given them to Muhammad.
The repetition of the Qur’an signifies the importance of the Principle Beliefs of Islam. The messengers of Allah are Adam, Noah and Abraham etc. The ‘Stoning of the Devils’ represents the bond and love between Allah and Abraham and the extremities of how far his love would push him. Pilgrims re-enact the stoning as a symbol of love for Allah and their hate for Satan. The Hereafter is another name for the Day of Judgement where the world ends and Allah makes the decision of who goes to heaven or hell. It is the day that the sky splits, trumpets sound and angels appear.
Pilgrims repent and ask for forgiveness of their sins on the Day of ‘Arafat in the hope that all will be forgiven and their pass into heaven will become stronger. The decree is the principle that ultimately everything is in God’s hands but humans nevertheless are responsible for their acts. The fourth pillar of Islam is Zakat, where Muslims give to the poor. This is represented on the pilgrimage by slaughtering a goat or sheep and sending one third of the meat to the needy and poor. The Hajj helps Muslims to act out and enhance the Principle beliefs of Islam and to be completely devoted to Allah.