Hajj is an Arabic word which means "pilgrimage" .Every year, millions of Muslims, from different parts of the world gather in Mecca to offer hajj. Hajj is performed in Dhu al-hijjah, the twelfth and last month of Muslim calendar. Hajj is obligatory for every Muslim once in a lifetime; if they are able to afford the expenses and are physically fit. Hajj is offered with a series of rituals.
The building of the Ka'bah was by Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael (Peace be upon them). This house was named "Kabah" after its cubic shape. It is the center point for Muslims all over the world. When a Muslim wants to pray, he/she must face Qiblah - the direction towards Makkah. When Abraham (Peace be upon him) finished the construction of Ka'bah, he called people to Hajj and prayed to Allah to bless Makkah and its vicinity and to make people come visit it until the Day of Judgment though it was remote and in the desert.Types of Hajj
In this type of Hajj a pilgrim performs both Umrah and Hajj. It is for people who come from far places, long time before Hajj. So, these people when enter Mecca for hajj should wear ihram and do the intention of umrah. Then again on eight day of Dhul-Hijja, he/she again wears the ihram with the intention of hajj, before this they shave or clip the hair. It is obligatory to sacrifice an animal in this type of Hajj.
In this type of Hajj, a pilgrim wears ihram with intention of performing Umrah and Hajj both. It is for people who arrive to Mecca, short time before hajj. Animal sacrifice is obligatory in this type of hajj.Hajj-Al-Ifraad
This Hajj is done with single-intention. A pilgrim wears Ihram for intention of Hajj, when he/she enters Mecca. This type of hajj is permitted for only locals of Makah. Animal sacrifice is not compulsory. Umrah can be done any time in the year, but Hajj is to be offered, only from 8-12th of Dhu al-hijjah.
Essence of Hajj
Every ritual in any religion has its own spirit and moral, if done with sense of reality will surely gives peace of mind and a way for salvation.
In Islam, Hajj is one of the most significant worship, after performing Hajj, all the sins of a person are forgiven and he/she becomes pure like a newborn baby. Hajj is considered as the father of all worships. The day of ARAFAAT portrays complete devotion and is a rehearsal of the Judgment day. Hajj teaches a person sacrificing physically and financially in the way of Almighty. Hajj also helps a person to purify his/her soul. Hajj recalls a person about the life after the death, when he wears the Ihram. Ihram is special dress prescribed to be worn for pilgrims for couple of days, which is a white colored seamless garment, exactly like a shroud. All people of different race, color, status, gather in Hajj with same garments, this develops a spirit of unity. It is a manifestation of brotherhood and equality.
Hajj is an act of Worship not tourism or promenade for rich people. It requires physical and spiritual preparation and sincere commitment to obedience of the Lord.