Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hajj - Obligations

The Kaa'ba, Mecca
Photograph taken from Britannica Student Encyclopædia:

The Three Rituals of Hajj

All Hajj pilgrims perform a minimum of three and a maximum of eight rituals, depending on preferences. The three obligitory rituals which must be performed by all pilgrims are:
1 - Walking around/circumvening the Kaa'ba.
2 - Standing at Arafat
3 - Stoning the Devil

The list below attempts explain each of the eight rituals in an easy to understand summary. You'll find loads and loads more information about each ritual on the internet if you're interested in finding out more, but for the purposes of this blog I've attempted to write short overviews ...

1. Circumvating the Ka'aba
[al-sa'ee how-well el-saf-wah wa al murr-wah] and also [al-ta-waf how-well al-bait]
All pilgrims will walk seven times around the Ka'aba, the central building in the great mosque in Mecca, in an anti-clockwise direction. Many also attempt to touch the Black Stone - a meteorite believed to have been sent from heaven - in the Ka'aba's wall and run seven times along a passageway in the Great Mosque, commemorating a search for water by Hajar, wife of the Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (Ibrahim [ee-bra-hymn] in Arabic, Abraham in English).

2. Alwoqoof be-Arafah [al wa-qoof b' ara-fat] Standing at Arafat
On the ninth day of the month pilgrims go from sunrise to just before sunset to Arafat, a plain about nine miles to the south-east of Mecca. It is likely they will listen to a sermon delivered from Mount Arafat, the place where the Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon.

3. Ramee Eljamrat [raa-mee al-jam-rat] Stoning the Devil
Pilgrims throw pebbles - usually about 70 - at the three spots where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Ismail.

4. Mona
[mow-na] Spending the Night at Muzdalifah
The act of Mona is where Pilgrims spend a night out in the open, at a place called Muzdalifah, near Mecca.

5. Sacrifice at Minah
Pilgrims will sacrifice a sheep or a goat to commemorate the Old Testament incident in which the Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham was about to sacrifice his son but God accepted a sheep instead. Currently many pilgrims pay someone to slaughter an animal on their behalf and then have the meat distributed to poorer countries.

6. Repeat the Circumambulation of the Ka'aba

7. Drink Zam-Zam Water
Inside the great mosque in Mecca there is a well which fills with water and which pilgrims can drink. This water is known as 'Zam Zam' and it is believed this is the location from which God provided water for Hajar and her son, Ismail, whilst they wandered in the desert.

8. Take Prayers at the Station of Abraham
Pilgrims pray at the Station of Ibrahim/Abraham, the location where Ibrahim and Ismail are believed to have prayed after building the Kaaba.

Additional Information
An excellent article on the Hajj, which uses lots Google maps to show locations and photos of the pilgrimage and can be found at:
This is printable direct link to the original post. Although for purpose of explaining Hajj, it is complete but it doesn't show the comments or any additional information which may have been posted in Google Earth Community forum. Or:
This links opens in Google Earth Community and includes all the comments etc.

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