Saturday 2nd of March 2024
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" Pilgrims making the hajj, or "greater pilgrimage, " will declare a niyah also to visit Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mind on the eighth through the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah. Their prayers
must stipulate whether or not they intend to interrupt the state of ihram during the interval that may lapse between the performances of 'umrah and hajj. (b) A second form of prayer is the salat, which includes the formal prostrations in the direction (qiblah) of the Ka'bah in Mecca. When pilgrims assume ihram, they perform a salat of two prostrations before entering the sacred territories. During the hajj, including the days of travel to and from Mecca, the five daily performances of salat assume the following pattern: once at dawn, the noon and afternoon prayers together at midday, and the sunset and
evening prayers at dusk. (c) A third form of prayer is called du'a', "supplication. " Du'a' is a less formalized, more individualized expression of communication with God. A supplication is normally offered after the salat, especially the salat of ihram, and thereafter frequently at each of the pilgrimage sites. The texts of supplications
recommended in the hajj manuals reveal something of the meanings these shrines and performances hold for Muslims. (d) The fourth
type of prayer, the talbiyah, belongs to ihram alone. The talbiyah is uttered in a loud voice as pilgrims pass the markers of the sacred territory and frequently during the days of consecration. The brief lines of talbiyah begin with a phrase that means roughly "Here I am, 0 Lord! What is Thy command? " 3. In addition to the ablutions and
prayers, ihram requires each pilgrim to exchange normal clothing for special garments. The ihram garb is simple, a visual symbol of the ideal of universal Islamic brotherhood that the hajj and 'umrah rites celebrate. For males the ihram attire consists of two seamless white pieces of cloth, one attached around the waist and reaching to the knees, the other worn over the left shoulder and attached around the torso, leaving the right shoulder and arm free for ritual gesturing. Males may not wear any head covering, and their footwear is restricted to sandals that leave the backs of the heels exposed. Females wear plain dresses that extend from neckline to ankles and
cover the arms. Ahead covering is required of females, but veiling the face is not permitted during the period of consecration. Hajj manuals
are less than sanguine about the comfort of the ihram attire, especially in summer and winter seasons. Ihram, then, is a state of consecration
that each pilgrim must assume before he or she may enter the sacred precincts. The state of consecration exemplifies the concept of
egalitarian brotherhood, or communitas, that many religious traditions establish ritually during pilgrimages and other rites. The haram, or
"sacred precincts, " is a place in which those who enter expect to feel nearness to God, and ihram is a special moment and condition of
brotherhood for all pilgrims. Within the spatial and temporal boundaries of ihram, it is forbidden to uproot plants, kill animals, or foment any, social violence. Husbands and wives are enjoined to refrain from sexual intercourse, and women are counseled to conduct themselves modestly so as not to attract male attention. Familiar sociocultural identities and structures  are reduced drastically, for pilgrims are now approaching the navel of creation, the primordial
house where Adam and Ibrahim worshiped, a hallowed ground where Muhammad recited God's final revelation to humankind. 'Umrah, the
Lesser Pilgrimage. All accounts of the experience of the final approach to Mecca indicate that it is a moment of high emotions
attending the realization of a lifelong ambition. The practical matter of securing lodging and the care of a pilgrim guide is usually the first order of business; the most valued and anticipated task, however, is a visit to the Ka'bah for the rites of 'umrah. From ancient times, the Ka'bah and its environs have been symbols of refuge from violence and pursuit, a sacred space in which wayfaring pilgrims could find sanctuary with the divine. The Ka'bah is now, enclosed within the
roofless courtyard of the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, al-Masjid al-Haram. Arriving pilgrims approach the mosque through streets teeming
with the traffic of other pilgrims, vendors, and merchants, whose shops and stalls compact the urban space that surrounds the ancient shrine. Twenty-four gates lead into the mosque courtyard (see figure 1) . The four corners of the outer walls of the Sacred Mosque as well as the four corners of the Ka'bah in the center of its grounds are
oriented approximately in the cardinal directions. The Ka'bah is surrounded by a circle of stone flooring called the mataf, the place of
circumambulations. Set within the eastern corner of the Ka'bah is the sacred Black Stone, encased by a silver rim; another auspicious
stone is encased in the southern corner. The four walls of the Ka'bah are covered with a gigantic black curtain, called the kiswah, which is
decorated in bands of Arabic calligraphy embroidered in gold. The Gate of Peace near the northern corner of the Sacred Mosque is the
traditional entrance for the performance of 'umrah. Again, emotions rise at the first glimpse of the haunting specter of the Ka'bah. Once they have entered the Gate of Peace, pilgrims move to a
position east of the Ka'bah and face the corner with the Black Stone. The rite of tawaf, or circumambulation, begins from this point with a
supplication followed by a kiss, touch, or gesture of touching the black stone. The pilgrim turns to the right and begins the seven
circumambulations, moving counterclockwise around the Ka'bah. Each circuit has a special significance with recommended prayers that the pilgrim may recite either from hajj manuals or by following the words of the hajj guide leading the group. When passing the stone in the southern corner and the sacred Black Stone in the eastern
corner, it is traditional to touch or make a gesture of touching each stone with uplifted right arm and a verbal supplication. Male pilgrims are admonished to take the first three laps at a quickened pace and the remaining four more slowly. Following the tawaf, pilgrims visit shrines adjacent to the Ka'bah. An area along the northeastern wall of the Ka'bah between its sole door and the Black Stone is the multazim or "place of pressing. " With uplifted arms, resting if possible on the multazim wall, pilgrims offer a supplication. Another place of visitation is the Maqam Ibrahim, which symbolizes the place from which Abraham is said to have prayed toward the Ka'bah. From within or near the covered shrine of Ibrahim, pilgrims perform a prayer of two
prostrations. Near Maqam Ibrahim to the east of the Ka'bah is the well of Zamzam. A drink of its water, said to have a brackish taste, is sought by every pilgrim. On the northwestern side of the Ka'bah, a low semicircular wall encloses a space. The enclosure is known as al-Hijr, and it is thought to be the site of the graves of Hajar and Isma’il. AI-Hijr is also said to be the spot beside the Ka'bah where Muhammad slept on the night of his miraculous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. After the circumambulations and visitations, pilgrims leave the Sacred Mosque (leading with the left foot) through the Gate of Purity on the southeast side. A few yards outside the Gate of Purity is the small hillock of al-Safa. From al-Safa begins the sa’y, the rite of trotting seven laps to and from the hillock of al-Marwah, which is located some four hundred and fifty yards to the northeast of the Sacred Mosque. The sa’y commemorates Hajar's desperate search for water in the Meccan wilderness and ends the rites of 'umrah. Year-round visitors to Mecca who intend to perform 'umrah only, or pilgrims who arrive early for the hajj, deconsecrate themselves at this time by a ritual of haircutting and by doffing the ihram garb (see below) . Hajj, the Greater Pilgrimage. The hajj proper begins on the eighth of Dhu al-Hijjah, the day of setting out for Arafat, which is located some thirteen miles east of Mecca. (For the route and pilgrimage sites, refer
to figure 2. ) Many pilgrims spend the first night at Mina, as the prophet Muhammad himself is said to have done, while others push on to Arafat. The goal of all pilgrims is to reach Jabal al-Rahmah, the Mount of Mercy, located on the eastern plain of Arafat, by noon on the ninth of Dhu al-Hijjah. Arafat. Muslim authorities agree that "there is no
hajj without Arafat, " that is, the rite of wuquf or "standing" at the Mount of Mercy. According to legend, Adam and Eve first met and "knew" (arafu) one another at Arafat after the long separation that followed their expulsion from Paradise. Tradition also teaches that Ibrahim went out to Arafat and performed wuquf. The prophet Muhammad addressed a multitude of followers performing wuquf during his farewell pilgrimage, and the following words are attributed
to him on that occasion: "O people, hear what I have to say, for I know not whether I shall again be with you here after this day.. .. Truly, all
Muslims are brothers. .. and your Lord is one. " Tradition also accords to this occasion the revelation of the final verse of the Qur'an recited
by Muhammad: "This day I have perfected your religion for you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (5: 3) . On the Day of Standing at Arafat, pilgrims perform an ablution and canonical prayer at a mosque located near the western entrance to the plain. When the sun passes the noon meridian, the Mount of Mercy is covered with pilgrims. The themes of brotherhood and repentance dominate the afternoon sermons and supplications.Muzdalifah. At sundown the  somber scene of prayer changes abruptly as pilgrims scramble to
break camp and begin the "hurrying" to Muzdalifah. This rite is called the ifadah ("pouring forth" ) or nafrah ( "stampede" ) and is described in pilgrim diaries as a moment of urgent confusion. Like the preceding period of respectful standing, however, the hurry, to Muzdalifah is a rite of, ancient significance; it is not simply undisciplined mass behavior. At Muzdalifah, a few miles on the road back toward Mecca, pilgrims halt for a combined observance of the sunset and evening salat prayers. The sunnah of the Prophet established the tradition of
staying overnight at Muzdalifah, although it is permissible after the halt in Muzdalifah to push on closer to Mina. The Qur'an admonishes: "When you hurry from Arafat, remember God at the Sacred Grove (al-mash'ar al-haram) ," that is, at Muzdalifah (2: 198) . Today a mosque marks the place in Muzdalifah where pilgrims gather to perform the special salat. Also during the halt at Muzdalifah, pilgrims gather small stones for the ritual lapidations at Mina the next day. Mina. The tenth
of Dhu al-Hijjah is the final official day of the hajj season. Most of the ritual activities of this day take place in Mina and include (1) the casting of seven small stones at the pillar of Aqaba, (2) the feast of the major sacrifice ('Id al-Adha) , (3) the rite of deconsecration from the condition of ihram, and (4) the visit to Mecca for the tawaf, called
al-ifadah. The story of Ibrahim's duty to sacrifice Isma'il provides the symbolic significance of the rites of lapidation and blood sacrifice. It is said that on his return from Arafat, Ibrahim was given the divine command to sacrifice that which was most dear to him, his son Isma'il. Along the way to Mina, Satan whispered to him three times (or to Ibrahim, Isma'il, and Hajar) , tempting him (or them) not to obey the heavy command. The legendary response was a hurling of stones to
repulse the Tempter. Three brick and mortar pillars stand in the center of Mina as symbols of Satan's temptations, and the pillar called Aqaba
is the site where pilgrims gather early on the morning of the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah to cast seven stones. Following the lapidations, those pilgrims who can afford it offer a blood sacrifice of a lamb or goat (sometimes a camel) to commemorate the divine substitution of a ram for Ibrahim's sacrifice. Hajj manuals recommend supplications
that express the pilgrim's willingness to sacrifice for the sake of God that which is dear. The meat is consumed by family and friends, with unused portions given to the poor. The festival of the major sacrifice is also celebrated on this day by Muslims around the world in gatherings of family and friends. Tawaf al-ifadah and tahallul. After the sacrifice and feast, the process of tahallul, or deconsecration, is begun with the rite of clipping the hair. Many men follow the tradition of having
the head shaved, -although for women, and for men if they prefer, the cutting of three hairs meets the ritual requirement. This is followed by a visit to Mecca for another rite of circumambulation known as tawaf al-ifadah. Pilgrims who have not yet performed the complete rites of 'umrah may do so at this time. The Ka'bah itself undergoes purification and ritual renewal during the three days of hajj. Shortly before the Hajj begins, the black kiswah-weathered and worn by a year of exposure to the open air-is replaced by a white one, suggestive of the ihram garb worn by pilgrims. After pilgrims go out to Arafat, Meccan authorities open the door of the Ka'bah for the
purpose of washing its interior, an act symbolic of the Prophet's cleansing of idols from the sacred house. Pilgrims returning for tawaf al-ifadah on the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah are greeted by the sight
of a lustrous new black kiswah. In the early Islamic period, the new kiswah and other presents for the shrines of Mecca and Medina
were sent annually by the caliphs; these offerings were borne by camel caravan in an ornate box called a mahmal. From the thirteenth century until 1927, the Egyptian mahmal brought the new kiswah each year. Since 1927 the kiswah has been made at a factory in Mecca. When the tawaf al-ifadah has been completed, the dissolution of the condition of consecration is made final by doffing the pilgrim garb and
wearing normal clothing. All the prohibitions of ihram are now lifted, and most pilgrims return to Mina for days of social gathering on the eleventh to the thirteenth of Dhu al-Hijjah. On each of these days it is sunnah to cast seven stones at each of the three pillars in Mina. This vast amalgam of pilgrims, dwelling in a river of tents pitched along
the narrow valley of Mina, eases into a more relaxed atmosphere of friendly exchanges of religious greetings and visiting with Muslims from around the world. By sundown on the thirteenth, the plain of Mina must be vacated. Though many will choose to spend additional time in Mecca, all pilgrims make a last visit to the Ka'bah for the
final circumambulation, tawaf al-qudum, which is permissible without the condition and attire of ihram. The hajj is thus complete, and each pilgrim leaves the sacred precincts with the honorific title of hajj. The Ziyarah, or Visitation to Holy Places. The Sacred Mosque in Mecca, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, and the mosque of al-Aqsa in Jerusalem are the three most sacred shrines in Islamic belief, and the three cities are especially holy to Muslims. Thus an additional pilgrimage to the Prophet's mosque and tomb in Medina is made by many Muslim visitors to Arabia each year, usually preceding or following the hajj.
Although such visitations do not have the weight of religious duty in Islamic law and are not a formal part of the hajj, ziyarah, or visitation to holy places, is nonetheless an essential aspect of traditional Muslim piety. There are many monuments in both Mecca and Medina that mark the homes, graves, and events associated with the Prophet, his family, and his closest companions. Guides for ziyarah conduct pilgrims to these sites, where prayers and meditation are offered. The most auspicious visitation is the one to the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina. Under the guidance of a shaykh, visitors enter the mosque through a passage called the Gate of Peace, uttering a supplication. Inside the mosque as it stands today is a brass railing that marks
out the smaller boundaries of the original home and mosque of the Prophet, and within this brass railing pilgrims perform a salat of two
prostrations followed by supplications. Nearby is the green-domed mausoleum of the Prophet, where pilgrims offer supplications and praises for the Prophet. The Prophet's mausoleum also enshrines the graves of the first two caliphs of  Islam, Abu Bakr and 'Umar, for whom prayers may also be said. The Hajj Interpreted. The meaning of the pilgrimage to Mecca, in general and in its many particulars, has been the subject of numerous books by Muslims throughout the centuries and by non-Muslim scholars in modern times. Although hajj is a duty that is carefully delimited by Islamic law, the great diversity of Muslims with differing degrees and kinds of piety are accommodated remarkably well within the structures of traditional interpretations. For
example, the various schools of law differ in the degree of stringency each suggests for the length of time one must perform the rite of standing at Arafat. The more pious pilgrims seek to emulate what the Prophet recommended and practiced at each station within the sacred precincts, while others may choose to follow the minimal requirements of the more lenient interpretations of the schools of law. For virtually every rite, such as the blood sacrifice at Mina, physical or
economic inability to meet the literal requirement can be compensated by the substitution of prayer and fasting. The continual process of interpreting Hajj meanings and requirements within the framework of Islamic symbols can be witnessed in the writings of contemporary Muslims. One problem under increasing discussion is the size of the pilgrim gathering in relation to available physical space for performance of the rites. The press of more than two million pilgrims to cast stones at the pillars of Mina, for example, has prompted Saudi hajj authorities to devise ways of organizing and regulating the social space within which the rite is performed. The mass slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of animals at Mind within a limited space and time creates a considerable health problem, particularly when the hajj occurs during the hot summer months. Some authorities have speculated on alternative ways for pilgrims to accomplish the root meaning of the sacrifice, namely, giving up that which is dear. Others, on the basis of statements drawn from the sunnah and the schools of law, have proposed that greater latitude should be given to the time permitted for the completion of such rites as the lapidations and the blood sacrifice. The problem of interpretation and meaning must also
be seen in relation to the political and technological changes that have affected the Islamic world. For example, the rise of nationalism has added a new dimension to the quest for ritual unity with the sacred precincts. Mass transportation has made travel to Mecca available to vastly larger numbers of pilgrims. The traditional experiences of adventure and hospitality along the hajj routes are being exchanged for the benefits of faster and safer passage by a growing majority of contemporary pilgrims. The ability to have media coverage of the hajj at home affords the Muslim community at large an audio and visual experience of the pilgrimage rites. Thus the hajj is becoming an
ever more visible event to the world of Islam in modern times.

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