The Islamic Pilgrimage refers to Hajj which is performed by Muslims annually in Mecca, which is in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A variety of customs are to be followed to fulfil the ritual of the Islamic Pilgrimage and they are all confined to the country alone, whereas the practice of Eid Al Adha is celebrated all over the world by all Muslims.
Hajj is supposed to be performed in the month of Dhul Hijjah in accordance with the Lunar Islamic calendar. In the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims are preferred to fast, though it isn’t mandatory as it is in the month of Ramadan. The first 10 nights of Dhul Hijjah are for prayers. During these nights, Muslims spent all their nights in prayer, which is separate from the mandatory five prayers in the day.
The 8th, 9th and 10th of this month are the days of the Islamic Pilgrimage. Before one begins their Pilgrimage, they are obligated to tie the Ihram before coming to Mecca with Neeyah, which is the intention of performing the Pilgrimage in all manners required.
Ihram the state of purity one enters in accordance with their intention for Hajj and their garments as they need to be for the following rituals.
Men don upon two pieces of white cloth, one is tied around their waist and the other is draped on their torso, along with this, they are only allowed to wear plain slippers. The reason for is to bring together all people and remove the obvious show of wealth and status which is usually visible through clothes and jewels.
Women are required to wear plain clothes that cover them but expose their face and hands.
On 8th of Dhul Hijjah, all Muslims gather in the Kaaba and perform Tawaaf to begin Hajj. Tawaaf is circling the Kaaba counterclockwise seven times. After which, one must go and perform Say between Safa and Marwa, which are the holy hills between which the holy spring of Zamzam was bestowed upon the lands by God to bring life to the dry lands. The Say is performed in respect to Hajrah who ran between the hills in search of water for her infant son. Hajrah was the wife of Abraham, who is considered a prophet in Islamic Traditions.
After the rituals have been performed, Muslims gather in Mina to pray further. Mina is also known as the City of Tents due to the large clongomeration of hospitable tenting that the Saudi Goverment has built for its yearly visitors.
On the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims gather in the plain of Arafat and pray for forgiveness from God.
The 10th of Dhul Hijjah is more interesting than the other rituals of the Islamic Pilgrimage as on this particular day, the Eid Al Adha takes place, which is celebrated all over the Muslim world.
Eid Al Adha is also known as the Festival of the Sacrifice as on this date, all practising Muslims must sacrifice a camel, goat, sheep or cow in the name of God.
The Sacrificial Festival lasts three days so that all Muslims may slaughter their animals because not everyone can do it on day worldwide.
It is one of a handful of Islamic festivals and practices that unite the whole population of Muslims in these times.
Another practice which takes place during Hajj is the stoning of the devil. Pilgrims gather stones from Mina to throw at the symbolic devil when returning.
Lastly, they perform another Tawaf as a farewell to the whole Pilgrimage and pray for their Pilgrim to be accepted by God.
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