Many Muslims have been waiting for years, wishing to be able to make the long journey to Mecca to fulfill their religious obligation.
SHAFAQNA – Millions of Muslims from around the world have arrived in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Press TV reports.
Pilgrims, who come to Mecca, are supposed to perform the minor Hajj once they reach the holy city. They enter the state of Ihram before coming to Mecca, which means they are prohibited from a number of acts.
The first rite pilgrims have to carry out in Mecca is called Tawaf or circling around the Ka’aba in the Grand Mosque seven times counterclockwise.
For Hajj pilgrims, the Ka’aba, also known as the Sacred House or the House of God, is the centerpiece of their journey. The pilgrims circle around it seven times and praise God.
The Ka’aba is the Muslims’ Qibla, the direction to which they turn in prayers.
“The Ka’aba is the sign of monotheism, Tohid, which is the soul of Islam,” Professor of Islamic Law and Philosophy, Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, told Press TV, adding, “Going round this building means that I don’t care about the others. I just trust Allah.”
The second rite of the Hajj pilgrimage is called Sa’y. In this stage, the pilgrims travel seven times between two hills called Safa and Marva. The small mountains have now become part of the Grand Mosque.
The ritual commemorates the attempt by Hagar, the Prophet Abraham’s wife, to find water for her son.
“It means that if you try in the way that Allah wants and if you trust Him, if you don’t ask anybody else except Him, then you will be able to reach to the fruit, to the result of this endeavor,” said Hadavi Tehrani.
Hajj is regarded as one of the pillars of Islam and every Muslim, who can physically and financially afford the pilgrimage, must perform it at least once in a lifetime.