The annual hajj to Makkah is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it.Nevertheless , about millions of people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another.
Although Makkah is always filled with visitors , the Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year ( which is lunar, not solar ,so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winters ). Pilgrims wear special clothes ; simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture , so that all stand equal before Allah.
The rites of the Hajj , which are of Abrahamic origin , include circling the ka’ba seven times , and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did Hajar during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafa and join in prayers for Allah’s forgiveness , in what is often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgment.
In previous centuries the Hajj was an arduous undertaking.Today,however , Saudi Arabia provides millions of people with water , modern transport , and the most up-to-date health facilities.
The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al Adha , which is celebrated with prayers in Muslim communities everywhere.
Hajj references in the Holy Quran :
1. And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj).
(Al-Quran: surah al Hajj ;ayat 27)
2. And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Kabah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for ones conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah), then Allah stands not in need of any of the Alameen (mankind and Jinns).
Hadith about the Hajj:
1.”There are no days during which good deeds are more beloved by Allah than these (ten) days.” (Bukhari, Tirmidhee and others)
2.Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), “We find that Jihad is the best deed, shouldn’t we (women) do jihad?” The Prophet replied, ‘Rather the best Jihad is a Hajj Mabroor!’ Aisha later said, ‘I’ll never cease performing Hajj after I heard that from Rasul Allah’”.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
3. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: “Umrah is an expiation for the time between it and the previous Umrah, and an accepted Hajj has no less a reward than Paradise.”
(Bukhaari: 1683, Muslim 1349)