WHAT IS HAJJ?
Every year, during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah – the final month of the Islamic Calendar – millions of Muslims from across the world gather in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and perform Hajj. Every Muslim is expected to perform this sacred pilgrimage once in their life if they are physically and financially able.
Hajj commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), his family, and the sacrifices they made for Allah (SWT). Many consider Hajj the ultimate act of worship, because of its physical and spiritual demands. Throughout Hajj, pilgrims will reenact trials endured by the Prophet Ibrahim and his family. Pilgrims will also pray, fast, and perform charity. These ten days are widely considered the most blessed and sacred days of the year, along with the final days of Ramadan. On Arafah – the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah – pilgrims will perform extended meditation to mark one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar, and many Muslims not performing Hajj will fast to mark the day as well.
The end of Hajj is marked by the celebration of Eid al-Adha – the Festival of Sacrifice. The holiday commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to obey Allah’s command to sacrifice his son Ismail. Many Muslims believe that Allah (SWT) rewarded the Prophet Ibrahim’s piety by giving him a lamb to sacrifice instead.