Spirit of togetherness in submission to Allah
Hajj Festival falls on Wednesday
By Aysha Yusuf
As Muslims from around the world gather to perform the annual pilgrimage of Hajj (the fifth pillar of Islam) in answer to Allah's call, the unity of Muslims is evident. The rich and poor, the ruler and ruled, the king and slave, stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, in submission to the Lord our creator and sustainer.

Here the largest number from all over gather at one place in the world to remember their Lord in submission to Him. Pilgrimage to the House is a duty to Allah by all who can find the way and means to perform it. Allah says in the Holy Quaran; 'Perform Hajj and Umrah for Allah.' (Ch-2-196)

The most important fact, those who go for Hajj should keep in mind, is to hold on to patience. It is here that patience and sacrifice have to be cultivated.
The intention that Prophet Ibrahim made to sacrifice his son was in accordance with Allah's decree. Prophet Ibrahim's faith was so strong that he wanted to comply with Allah's command.

Circumambulating the Kaabah seven times is the first act the pilgrim performs, after which he prays two rakats behind Makam Ibrahim, and then drinks water of Zam Zam. He then proceeds to perform Saee. This is running to and fro between Safa and Marwa. This is in keeping with how Hajara ran between the two hills in search of water when her child was left with her by Prophet Ibrahim. After she ran seven times between the two hills, she found the water, bubbling at the feet of little Ishmael. That was the fountain of Zam Zam that Hajara discovered. She said 'Zam Zam' meaning stop, as it was spouting water, more than they needed. But even today that stream still spouts water and pilgrims satisfy their thirst with it.

All the rituals have to be performed in keeping with Quaran and Sunnah. On the eighth day, the pilgrims proceed to Mina where they stay till sunrise next day, the ninth of Dhul Hajj.

Here they spend the day in prayer (Dua) and repentance. On the ninth day they proceed to Arafat. When proceeding from Mina to Arafat, they recite Talbiya. 'Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. - Labbaik la Sharika laka Labbaik' Innalhamd wanni Mata Laka wal mulk' La sharika lak.

At Arafat the pilgrims remain in prayer and repentance, glorifying Allah. They will listen to the sermon at Masjid Namira and then pray Dhuhr and Asr, repent and ask forgiveness. After sunset they leave for Musthalifah, combining Magrib and Isha prayers with two rakats each and stays the night there.

After combining Magribh and Isha prayers with two rakats each, the pilgrims stay the night there and leave Musdalifah for Mina. At Mina, the pilgrims throw seven pebbles. They will proceed to slaughter a sheep, or cow (one seventh share) as sacrifice.

On the tenth day, they will once again circumambulate the Kaabah and pray at Makaam Ibrahim. After the tenth day, and completion of all the rituals, the pilgrims will proceed to perform the farewell Tawaaf, before they leave Mecca.

He may then visit Madinah. This is neither obligatory, nor part of Hajj, but a sunnah. At Madinah he may visit Masjid Quba, the Prophet's mosque, and pray there, though this is optional.

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