An Overview of Hajj

For Muslims, the Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. It occurs in the month of Dhul Hijjah which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is the journey that every sane adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it and are physically able.

A minor form of pilgrimage and optional is the Umrah which can take place at any time of the year except not during the Hajj days. In Umrah, there are essential and mandatory rituals for anyone, while Hajj has additional rituals added.

During both pilgrimages, pilgrims perform acts of worship, and they renew their sense of purpose in the world.

Pilgrims must be in the state of ihram, which includes:

Pilgrims prepare by combing their hair, have a haircut (men usually shave their hair), cutting their nails, removing unwanted body hair, and for men, shaping the beard and trimming their moustache.

Pilgrims take a bath or do ablution to enter into ihram.

Put on the ihram: Men must wear an unstitched sheet of white cloth while the women wear a long dress, leaving her face and hands revealed.

There are prohibitions during the state of ihram, which includes:

Men cannot wear stitched clothing.

Men cannot cover their head, wear a shirt, hooded robe, trousers, a turban or leather slippers while women cannot hide their face.

Pilgrims cannot shave or cut their hair or cut their nails.

Pilgrims cannot wear perfume.

Pilgrims cannot hunt animals.

Pilgrims cannot engage in sexual activity.