Hajja and Umarah-3
Saturday, May 26, 2012 10:28:17 AM
Makkah is a city in the Hejaz and the capital of Makkah Province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located 73 km (45 mi) inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m (909 ft) above sea level. Its resident population is more than 2 million, although visitors more than double this number every year during Hajj period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhul Al-Hijjah
As the birthplace of Mohammad and a site of the composition of the Quran. Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in the religion of Islam and a pilgrimage to it known as the Hajj is obligatory upon all able Muslims. The Hijaz was long ruled by Muhammad's descendants, the sheriffs, either as independent rulers or as vassals to larger empires. It was absorbed into Saudi Arabia in 1925. In its modern period, Mecca has seen tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure. Because of this Mecca has lost many thousand years old buildings and archaeological sites. Today, more than 13 million Muslims visit Mecca annually, including several million during the few days of the Hajj. As a result, Mecca has become one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in the Muslim world, although non-Muslims remain prohibited from entering the city.
The Hajj - is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth Pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).
The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah the 12th and last month of the Islamic Calendar Year. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian Calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year.
Muhammad (s.a.v.)was known to regularly perform the Umrah, even before he began receiving revelation. Historically,
In 631 CE, Muhammad(s.a.v.) led his followers from Medina to Mecca, it was the first Hajj to be performed by Muslims alone, and the only Hajj ever performed by Muhammad (s.a.v.). He cleansed the Kaaba, destroyed all the idols, and re-ordained the building as the house of God. It was from this point that the Hajj became one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Pilgrims generally travel to Hajj in groups, as an expression of unity. Some airlines have special packages for Muslims going to Mecca .
Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which Muslims live while on the pilgrimage.The Ihram is meant to show equality of all pilgrims, in front of God there is no difference between a prince and a pauper. Ihram is also symbolic for holy virtue and pardon from all past sins. A place designated for changing into Ihram is called a Miqat .While wearing the Ihram, a pilgrim may not shave, clip their nails, wear perfume, swear or quarrel, have sexual relations, uproot or damage plants, kill or harm wild animals, cover the head [for men] or the face and hands [for women], marry, wear shoes over the ankles, or carry weapons.
The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad (s.a.v.) from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abrahm ( Ibrahim a.s.). Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayers, runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, and throws stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha.
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