Muslim pilgrims at the Kaaba in Mecca.
By Asma Yasini, Courier Staff Writer
The Hajj, which is the pilgrimage to Mecca that most Muslims must make in fulfillment of one of the five pillars of Islam, or the five basic rules of the religion. The most recent Hajj ended last month.
The next Hajj is from November 25-28, 2009.
Hajj literally means “to have intention.” Muslim people go to the house of Allah (Kaaba) in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia in order to perform their worship. Hajj begins on the eight day of the lunar month on Dhu al Hijjah in the Islamic calendar.
Participation in the Hajj is limited to adherents to Islam who are mentally healthy, not enslaved, and have reached puberty. A woman can go to Hajj only with her husband, son, father, or brother. If she does not go with any male family members, then her pilgrimage is not complete.
There are three kinds of Hajj: Hajj Ifraad (isolated Hajj) is a pilgrim that is required to enter the state of Ihraam with the intention of doing Hajj only. Hajj Qiraam (accompanied Hajj) this is when the Qaarin should enter the state of Ihraam with the intention of performing 'Umrah and Hajj together. Hajj Tamattu (enjoyable Hajj) it is to enjoy all the pleasures, which were allowable prior to Ihraam, including sex.
People from all over the world try to go to Hajj because in Islam it is mandatory to go at least once in your lifetime if you can afford it. People who are interested in going often join a group , usually through their local masjid, another word for mosque. They pay for their tickets, food, and hotel reservations all at the beginning. Once they are in Mecca, it's kind of like a tour in which pilgrims arey guided the whole way.
A lot of people say that when you are there you forget about everything and all you want to do is worship Allah. Ahmad, who just came back from Hajj recently, said “the feeling inside you while you're in Hajj is amazing. I just wanted to worship Allah day and night, I didn't even want to sleep.”