Muslims and Hajj

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The Hajj: A Journey of Mind, Body, and Soul

The Hajj is an event for the Islamic religion that a person must undergo in order to obtain eternal life, just as every religion has a similar need. The Hajj, which is performed in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, DhulHijjah, is the fifth pillar of Islam. Millions of pilgrims attend since every Muslim is required to take part in the holy trek at least once during their lifetime. The Hajji is so essential to Muslims because it teaches them crucial concepts related to Islam's religious practices. These elements include teaching them their real purpose on Earth, helping them unite with their brothers and sisters on the journey, they feel closer to Allah during the trip, helping them recognize the equality of all people, and helping them find humility among other aspects. During the pilgrim, Muslims perform acts of worship and ask for forgiveness from Allah; this serves as a new beginning for Muslims as many go there to get a new start and leave the bad past behind. Therefore, the Hajj is not only a pilgrimage of the body but also the mind and soul as well. If a pilgrim properly goes through it, one can attain true enlightenment, become purified, get closer to Allah, and get ready to start a new life away from sins.

Importance of the Hajj

Many Muslims save resources for all their lives to go to the five-day Hajj pilgrimage because they have been brought up knowing that the house of Allah is the only place to be on Earth. Moreover, it helps them strengthen their faith and belief in Allah as well as understand more about the Islamic religion. Other Muslims go to the Hajj to follow the example set by Prophet Muhammad because he led his people by instance. If you follow the religion perfectly, then you will be accepted through the gates of heaven. Upon successful completion of rituals, a pilgrim achieves various merits. The new beginning of their lives as Muslims, deepening their faith and becoming closer to Allah is of paramount importance (Mohammad 315). Besides, the journey brings about unity among Muslims from all over the world and teaches them about greater humility. There are different rituals that a Muslim should undergo through this journey to benefit as a believer in the Islamic religion.

Requirements and Rituals of the Hajj

The first requirement for the Hajj is that one must be physically able to attend, and the second one is that you must be financially stable. However, due to the importance of this journey in the life of a Muslim, some are helped in the trip with their clutches while others are financed by their communities to be able to attend the Hajj. Also, during the journey, no one should be able to tell the difference between a poor and wealthy individual; as such, all people are dressed in simple and similar white clothing which are known as ihram (Petersen 88). When it comes to men, they should dress in two pieces of white cloth, one which covers the lower body between the waist and the feet, and the other gathered around the shoulder. On the other hand, women wear simple white dresses, or their native dresses. This is to ensure that they do shed a light on societal distinction or wealth. The Hajj should display one nation bound by religion.

During the event, Muslims who make the journey are required to spend five days in the desert surrounding the city of Makkah; this is modern Saudi Arabia. They travel between specific points as they perform rights, which are instructed in the Quran. These rights commemorate notable Muslims who built the Islamic religion such as Ibrahim. If performed correctly, the Hajj cleanses all the sins that an individual has committed up to the very journey. This sacred journey requires ten rituals to be carried out before and during the Hajj. A large number of rituals take place in the mosque in Mecca or the Sacred Mosque. However, it is prudent that all Muslims recognize that after being washed off the dirt, one should not go back to their wicked ways. Instead, one should take this as an opportunity to go back to the world as a new person and continue strengthening in faith (Katz 105). These are among the crucial lessons on the sense of solidarity and humility that the pilgrimage teaches Muslims during the Hajj.

The Soul's Journey

For Muslims, the Hajj is a journey of the body and the soul at the same time. Every human-being is simply a soul, as one cannot hide behind their make-up, clothes, or social status. As such, it is a journey where one experiences the realities of their bare souls as well as the souls of others. All the worldly lifestyle is left behind as they all dress in simple clothing; also, the Hajj encourages the cleansing of the soul rather than the body. As they perform rituals, they do not focus on the physical aspect of the individual, but they rather concentrate on the spiritual side of the person. As the pilgrims move to a desert, they look deeper into their souls as the harsh light from the landscape shines on their inner selves. Although one should be physically able to take the whole journey, the rituals and events involved relate to the soul. It is an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and make peace with the creator (Powers 433). Additionally, Muslims returning from the Hajj talk of life-changing experiences which have long-lasting effects on their lives. Therefore, this is not just a journey for the body, but for the mind and soul as well.

The Spiritual Journey to Allah

The Hajj is not just a trip to explore and have fun, but rather a spiritual journey where Muslims get the opportunity to get close to Allah. The journey towards God is not a physical, but a spiritual journey; as such, the pilgrims are accompanied by their body and soul. Furthermore, avoiding the influence of the evil both physically and spiritually is another reason for the Hajj. All the rituals performed during the five-day journey are aimed at cleansing the souls of those who participate and get closer to God so as to acquire a fresh start in their life free of the sins committed in the past. In addition to personal transformation, the Hajj allows Muslims from all over the world to unite under one faith and share experiences that add value and are beneficial for their lives (Henderson 552). This helps to strengthen the Islamic religion globally when people undifferentiated by wealth, social status, and wealth join for a common purpose. As such, the Hajj should not be reduced to just a physical journey to Mecca.

The Hajj: Purification of Mind, Body, and Soul

The primary purpose of the Hajj is a physical and spiritual purification as it helps Muslims clean a person from the inside and the outside. The body improves its muscle performance and physical endurance through walking as well as physical exercises such as standing on Mount Arafah. Also, drinking water during the journey helps to clean the body by removing small stones from the kidneys. On the other hand, the mind rests from thinking about many things at once as one focuses on only one idea – asking for forgiveness from Allah. Consequently, the soul is healed from various illnesses such as feeling superior and sins committed in the past and from worldly desires. Those, who participate in this journey, gain humility, patience, and self-control in their lives (Petersen 92). Even the rich remember that all they have are blessings from Allah, and that such material possessions should not distance them from Him, but rather draw them closer to Allah. As such, the Hajj cannot be simplified as a journey of the body; instead, it is a mission of the mind, body, and soul.

The Hajj: Physical vs. Spiritual Journey

Critics argue that the Hajj is the journey of the body as they focus more on the physical activities of the event. For instance, walking through the rocks and mountains becomes physically exhausting for the individuals that they cannot focus on other important aspects of the journey. The primary purpose of the Hajj is to cleanse a pilgrim, bring them closer to Allah, and make a new beginning in their lives. As such, if one is unable to complete the physical journey, then the Hajj will not be a success. This is a limiting factor as many focus more on ensuring that they complete the physical journey rather than the spiritual one. Having said that, many Muslims who visit Saudi Arabia for the Hajj go back home the same way they left after failing to complete the mission (Henderson 549). To avoid predicaments, the pilgrims can worship Allah and ask for forgiveness when they are comfortable to ensure maximum concentration on the soul. As it is, it remains more of a physical journey than a spiritual journey since many who have succeeded say that it takes physical endurance to complete the journey.

Spiritual Significance and Symbolism of the Hajj

In response to the critics, Saudi Arabia is the place where the holiest Mosques are located. Besides, it is believed that Ibrahim and Adam were once in the same location – the city of Makar. As such, it is a symbolic place for the Muslims to visit. Also, the Hajj must be held in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar (Katz 101). Every Islamic individual who is physically and financially stable must attend it at least once in their lifetime. Therefore, there is no other way that the pilgrims can participate in the journey of the Hajj. The Hajj is guided by peace, unity, and love. Everybody who visits the city of Mecca is expected to prepare before attending the event. As such, this cannot be the source of war or conflict. Unless forces from the outside interfere with the event, the Hajj cannot be a source of death, or war. On the contrary, the mission creates a strong bond between people from different parts of the world. The incident that occurred in 2015 was an accident, which happened for the first time after 25 years.

Conclusion: A Transformation of Mind, Body, and Soul

In conclusion, the Hajj is not only a journey of the body but the mind and soul as well. Those who have completed the journey say that it is a life-changing experience. Essentially, an individual gets the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and get to Allah. As a result, one is cleansed, as innocent as a baby, and gets a new beginning away from sins. Those who complete the journey are advised to leave behind their old ways and focus on a fresh start after forgiveness of sins. Therefore, reducing the Hajj to a physical journey is bad as it is not the sole purpose of the mission. The complete transformation of a person includes healing the body of many illnesses through physical exercises and drinking water; the mind rests from thinking about many things and focuses on seeking forgiveness, and the soul is cleansed from all sins and worldly desires.

Works Cited

Henderson, Joan C. "Religious Tourism and Its Management: the Hajj in Saudi Arabia."

International Journal of Tourism Research, no. 13(6), 2011, pp. 541-552

Katz, Marion. “The Hajj and the Study of Islamic Ritual.” StudiaIslamica, no. 98/99, 2004, pp.

95–129, Jstor Accessed 12 March 2017.

Mohammad, Rezae. "The Role of Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) in Gaining Moral Virtues and

Avoiding Moral Vices." Scientific Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, no. 3(5), 2014, pp. 313-317.

Petersen, Kristian. “The Multiple Meanings of Pilgrimage in Sino-Islamic Thought.” Islamic

Thought in China: Sino-Muslim Intellectual Evolution from the 17th to the 21st Century,

edited by Jonathan Lipman, Edinburgh University Press, 2016, pp. 81–104.

Powers, Paul R. “Interiors, Intentions, and the ‘Spirituality’ of Islamic Ritual Practice.” Journal

of the American Academy of Religion, vol. 72, no. 2, 2004, pp. 425–459.

April 13, 2023




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