What exactly is it that goes on in Mecca? As a non muslim looking on it appears to be an event, or more correctly a pilgrimage, a worship en masse, bigger then any other in the world. And it happens every year.
Well the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj just announced that Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca (or Makkah), will start on November 14th. The Ministry of Hajj have a very detailed website for all the procedures taking place.
“Hajj” means literally “to set out for a place”. For a Muslim, that place is the Holy City of Mecca.
We have put together pictures in chronological order, starting on day 1 through day 6 on what exactly goes on and why.
Hajj: Map of where Hajj takes place
Hajj takes between 4 to 6 days to complete, and must be performed according strict rules of conduct.
Miqat, Mecca, Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, Mina, Mecca in that order.
Note: the numbers on the map do not reflect the days. (Hajj, Pilgrims, Mecca, CC Photo: Wikipedia).
In Mecca, they perform the welcome Tawaf (circle the Kaaba seven times) and Sa’y (passing seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwah) before they go to Mina.
In Mina they perform five prayers starting with noon prayer ending with dawn on the day of Arafat.
Hajj: Day 2 Arafat: When the pilgrims reach Arafat they devote as much time as possible for prayer. When sun sets they leave Arafat for Muzdalifah.
In Muzdalifah they stay nuder the open sky with evening prayer and stay over night. They collect small pebbles for the “stoning” ceremony (ramy), At dawn they pray and then, before sun has risen they set off for Mina.
Hajj: Day 3, Mina: Pilgrims perform the stoning of the devil, then proceed to Masjid al Haram in Mecca to perform Tawaf al-ifadha.
In Mecca the Tawaf is performed (the Kaaba is circled seven times followed by prayer. Then they again perform Sa’y between Safa and Marwah.
The Pilgrims then drink from the well of Zamzam before they return to Mina.
Hajj: Day 4-5-6: The Pilgrims stay in Mina for two or three days. At Mina they again stone the three pillars in set order. Some return to Masjid al Haram to perform a farewell Tawaf.
Hajj: Miqat or city limits of Mecca
The large structure in the form of a huge Koran book signifies the miqat or city limits of Mecca (Makkah), Islam’s holiest city.
Non-Muslims in Jeddah will not get to see this in person as they would have taken the bypass route at least two kilometers away before where this structure stands. Saudi law prohibits non-Muslims from entering Mecca.
(Hajj, Pilgrims, Mecca, CC Photo: Acizane Nacizane ).
Hajj: Entering Mina
Pilgrims entering Mina, to begin Hajj, Nov. 25, 2009 (Hajj, Pilgrims, Mecca, photo: Omar Chatriwala).
Hajj: Millions of Pilgrims at Hajj
Millions of Pilgrims walk to worship.
Hajj: Pilgrims at Ararat
Millions gather at Mount Arafat
Hajj: Inside the Kaaba
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