The Kaaba in Al-Masjid al-Haram

The Hajj ( /; [1] Arabic: حَجّ‎‎ Ḥaǧǧ " pilgrimage") is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the most holy city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence. [2] [3] [4] It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm. The Hajj is the largest annual gathering of people in the world. [5] [6] The state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita'ah, and a Muslim who fulfills this condition is called a mustati. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God ( Allah). [7] [8] The word Hajj means "to intend a journey", which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. [9]

The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th (or in some cases 13th [10]) of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which pilgrims wear two white sheets of seamless cloth and abstain from certain actions. [7] [11] [12]

The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham. During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba (the cube-shaped building and the direction of prayer for the Muslims), runs back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah, drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spends a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and performs symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three-day global festival of Eid al-Adha. [13] [14] [15] [16]

Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the "lesser pilgrimage", or Umrah ( Arabic: عُـمـرَة‎‎). [17] However, even if they choose to perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some other point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so, because Umrah is not a substitute for Hajj. [18]


A 1907 image of the Great Mosque of Mecca with people praying therein
The Kaaba during Hajj

The present pattern of Hajj was established by Muhammad. [19] However, according to the Quran, elements of Hajj trace back to the time of Abraham. According to Islamic tradition, Abraham was ordered by God to leave his wife Hajara and his son Ishmael alone in the desert of ancient Mecca. In search of water, Hajara desperately ran seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah but found none. Returning in despair to Ishmael, she saw the baby scratching the ground with his leg and a water fountain sprang forth underneath his foot. [20] Later, Abraham was commanded to build the Kaaba (which he did with the help of Ishmael) and to invite people to perform pilgrimage there. [21] The 22:27-30. [n 1] It is said that the archangel Gabriel brought the Black Stone from Heaven to be attached to the Kaaba. [21]

In pre-Islamic Arabia, a time known as jahiliyyah, the Kaaba became surrounded by pagan idols. [22] In 630 CE, Muhammad led his followers from Medina to Mecca, cleansed the Kaaba by destroying all the pagan idols, and then reconsecrated the building to Allah. [23] In 632 CE, Muhammad performed his only and last pilgrimage with a large number of followers, and instructed them on the rites of Hajj. [24] It was from this point that Hajj became one of the five pillars of Islam.

During the medieval times, pilgrims would gather in big cities of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq to go to Mecca in groups and caravans comprising tens of thousands of pilgrims, [25] often under state patronage. [26] Hajj caravans, particularly with the advent of the Mamluk Sultanate and its successor, the Ottoman Empire, were escorted by a military force accompanied by physicians under the command of an amir al-hajj. [27] [28] This was done in order to protect the caravan from Bedouin robbers or natural hazards, [n 2] [27] [28] and to ensure that the pilgrims were supplied with the necessary provisions. [27] Muslim travelers like Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Battuta have recorded detailed accounts of Hajj-travels of medieval time. [29] The caravans followed well-established routes called in Arabic darb al-hajj, lit. "pilgrimage road", which usually followed ancient routes such as the King's Highway.

Other Languages
Acèh: Haji
Afrikaans: Hadj
aragonés: Al-Hach
armãneashti: Hagi
অসমীয়া: হজ্জ
asturianu: Ḥajj
авар: ХІаж
azərbaycanca: Həcc
বাংলা: হজ্জ
башҡортса: Хаж
беларуская: Хадж
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Хадж
Bikol Central: Hajj
български: Хадж
bosanski: Hadždž
català: Hajj
čeština: Hadždž
Cymraeg: Hajj
dansk: Hajj
Deutsch: Haddsch
ދިވެހިބަސް: ޙައްޖު
eesti: Hadž
Ελληνικά: Χατζ
español: Hach
Esperanto: Haĝo
فارسی: حج
français: Hajj
Gaeilge: Hajj
ગુજરાતી: હજ
한국어: 하즈
Հայերեն: Հաջ
हिन्दी: हज
hrvatski: Hadž
Bahasa Indonesia: Haji
interlingua: Hadj
íslenska: Hadsjí
italiano: Hajj
עברית: חג'
Basa Jawa: Kaji
ქართული: ჰაჯი
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: حَج
Kiswahili: Hajj
Kurdî: Hec
Кыргызча: Ажы
лакку: ХӀаж
Latina: Hajj
latviešu: Hadžs
Lëtzebuergesch: Haddsch
lietuvių: Hadžas
മലയാളം: ഹജ്ജ്
मराठी: हज
Bahasa Melayu: Haji
Baso Minangkabau: Haji
Nederlands: Hadj
नेपाली: हज
日本語: ハッジ
нохчийн: Хьаьж
norsk: Hajj
norsk nynorsk: Hadj
occitan: Hajj
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ହଜ
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Haj
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਹੱਜ
پنجابی: حج
پښتو: حج
polski: Hadżdż
português: Haje
qırımtatarca: Acılıq
română: Hajj
русский: Хадж
Scots: Hajj
shqip: Haxhi
Simple English: Hajj
سنڌي: حج
slovenščina: Hadž
Soomaaliga: Xaj
کوردی: حەج
српски / srpski: Hadžiluk
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Hadždž
Basa Sunda: Haji
suomi: Hadž
svenska: Hajj
Tagalog: Hajj
தமிழ்: ஹஜ்
татарча/tatarça: Хаҗ
తెలుగు: హజ్
ไทย: ฮัจญ์
тоҷикӣ: Ҳаҷ
Türkçe: Hac (İslam)
українська: Хадж
اردو: حج
Tiếng Việt: Hajj
Winaray: Hajj
Wolof: Haj
ייִדיש: האדזש
Yorùbá: Hájì