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Hajj is a rehearsal of life in both this world and the next, a theater of all Islamic life based upon deep devotion to God and perception of one’s servanthood and God’s Divinity and Lordship. It consists of love, action, humility, God-consciousness, sacrifice, and dominion over the carnal self.

It has two pillars: staying at ‘Arafat for a certain length of time on Dhu’l-Hijja 9 (the last day of the Islamic lunar calendar) and circumambulating the Ka’ba any day after staying at the ‘Arafat.Ihram is also essential to both the major (Hajj) and minor (‘Umra) pilgrimage. Ihram is the intention to perform either Hajj or ‘Umra, or both, and marks the beginning of Hajj or ‘Umra, or both if they are performed together. It also signifies making some things forbid-den. Men wear special attire while in ihram, and this is why some people call this attire ihram.

Hajj mabrur (a faultless Hajj that is free of sin and graced with Divine ac-ceptance and pleasure) is one of the best, most virtuous deeds in Islam.”

Bukhari and Muslim record from God’s Messenger: “He who performs Hajj for God’s good pleasure and avoids all lewdness and sin will return after Hajj as free from all sins as he was the day his mother gave birth to him” (Zayn al-Din al-Zabidi, Tajrid al-Sarih, “Hajj,” 756) and: “Pilgrims and those performing ‘Umra are God’s guests. Their prayers are answered and their supplications for forgiveness are granted. The reward of Hajj mabrur is Paradise.” (Canan, ibid., 17:383)

Concerning the importance of Hajj, the Qur’an says:

“Behold, the first House (of prayer) established for humanity is the one at Bakka (Makka), as a blessed place and a center of guidance for the whole world. Therein are clear signs (showing that it is a blessed sanctuary cho-sen by God as the center of guidance), and the Station of Abraham. Who-ever enters it is secure (against attack and fear). Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to God by all who can afford a way to it. Whoever rejects (this obligation) or is ungrateful to God (by not fulfilling this command), God is All-independent of all creatures.” (3:96-97)

Algul, Huseyin.The Blessed Days and Nights of the Islamic Year. The Light, Inc. 2005.