The Hajj, the fifth and last of the pillars of Islam, is one of the largest single gatherings of Muslims on earth—hailing from all over the world, each with their own stories and backgrounds, but all united through their shared belief in God. Each year, 2 to 3 million pilgrims arrive in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual journey. Here, we commemorate the solidarity of Muslims worldwide, and more importantly, profess our willingness to submit to God.
The Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, after Shahada (faith), Salah (prayer), Zakat (charity) and Sawm (fasting). Together, these make up the foundations of the religion of Islam, and must be adhered to by all who profess the faith. The Hajj itself is an annual pilgrimage made by Muslims all over the world, who come together in the holiest city in Islam: Mecca.
It is said in the Quran that God ordered the prophet Ibrahim to build the Ka’bah, the holy building that lies in the centre of Islam’s largest and greatest mosque, Al-Masjid Al-Haram (The Sacred Mosque) in Mecca. The modern Hajj, however, is said to have been created by the Prophet Muhammad, who in the year 630 AD led his followers to Mecca from the city of Medina and dedicated the Ka’bah once again to Allah. It was then that the Hajj became the fifth pillar of Islam.
The Hajj is performed as a compulsory religious duty for all Muslims. Known as a fard or faridah, it is commanded of all Muslims by God. According to the Quran, all adult Muslims must perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetime, provided that they are physically and financially able to make the journey to Mecca, and can support their family while they are away.
In addition, performing the Hajj is a sign of one’s commitment to Islam, as well as an opportunity to reaffirm one’s faith and be cleansed of sin. As one of the five pillars of Islam, it serves as an important step towards achieving spirituality for many Muslims.
As stated in the Quran, the Hajj may only be performed from the 8th to 13th of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, which is the twelfth and last month in the Islamic calendar. It is dependent on the sighting of the moon of Dhu al-Hijjah. The dates of the Hajj in the Gregorian calendar are subject to change every year, as the Islamic calendar is lunar and shorter than the Gregorian calendar.
In 2019, the Hajj is tentatively scheduled for Friday, 9 August to Wednesday, 14 August.
The Hajj is performed over 6 days in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Each day, all Hajj pilgrims assemble around Mecca to partake in religious rituals. The coming together of Muslims from all walks of life, for the purpose of reaffirming their commitment to God and Islam, symbolizes the equality of all believers regardless of their background, identity or culture.
Before formally embarking on their pilgrimage, all Muslims arriving for the Hajj must enter Ihram: a state of purity that involves certain restrictions on clothing, grooming and behavior. It signifies that all pilgrims, regardless of their status in life, are equal before God. You will also be required to declare your niyyah (intention) of carrying out the Hajj. Ihram must be achieved before any pilgrim may cross the boundary points of Mecca (known as Miqat) and begin their pilgrimage.
In 2018, the average price of a Hajj package in Singapore was S$11,500.
According to MUIS, the number of Hajj places allocated to Singaporean pilgrims increased to 900 in 2018 from 800 in 2017. However, this makes up less than 1% of our Muslim population, such that first-time applicants may have to wait up to 14 years.
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Nasib baiklah kita cuma dapat peluang menunaikan Haji hanya sekali. Kalau tidak, memang Jalaluddin yang akan saya cari lagi! Saya amat berpuas hati dan Ustaz bersikap terbuka orangnya. Sememangnya, Jalaluddin adalah pilihan yang tepat!