Pilgrimage (Hajj)

Hajj is a pilgrimage that Muslims must undertake at least once in their lifetimes if they are able to. The Arabic word Hajj means: journey towards.

Every year in the twelfth or last month of the Islamic calendar, over three million pilgrims travel to Makkah and its surrounding areas to perform rituals following the tradition of Prophet Abraham and his family.

During this time they wear simple clothing, focus on worshiping God, and cannot argue or be bad tempered. This is called being in ‘ihram’. Men wear two white sheets and women can wear long gowns. Dressing like this is a sign of equality as no one can show their wealth or status through how they dress. While a person is in ihram, they need to be careful not to hurt anything even as small as a fly or cut a plant or tree.

At the end, pilgrims donate an animal, the meat of which is then distributed to the poor for the feast of Eid ul Adha. Eid ul Adha marks the end of the Hajj and also celebrates the story of Abraham, when he was tested by God and asked to sacrifice his son. When Abraham had agreed to carry out the order, he passed the test and God told him to sacrifice an animal instead.