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Why Hajj is Performed

Muslim pilgrims perform the Hajj at the holy mosque Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. As one of Islam’s five pillars, it is the obligation of all Muslims to perform it at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj takes place during the same period every year – during the month of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic Calendar. The Hajj begins on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah and lasts until the 13th.

Hajj will be held between 7th and 12th July 2022 according to the Gregorian calendar.

Due to its lunar cycle, the Islamic calendar appears to shift forward approximately 11-12 days each year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.

The Hajj is a spiritual duty for Muslims, as long as they are financially, physically, and emotionally able to perform it.

This sacred journey is commanded by Allah (SWT) in the Holy Qur’an:

There will be no fear for you as you enter the Sacred Masjid, God willing, and you will cut your hair or shorten it (as part of pilgrimage rituals).

The Qur’an | 48:27

Muslims are only required to perform the Hajj once in their lifetimes, but they can perform it more than once.

What is the duration of Hajj?

Hajj pilgrimage lasts for five to six days, from the 8th to 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah. After the new crescent moon is sighted, Eid al-Adha begins.

A series of rites and rituals are part of the pilgrimage, some of which must be performed in order. As pilgrims have to travel across the country, they can walk on average 5km-15km per day, which can be physically demanding. It takes patience and temperament to perform Hajj – it is a spiritual, emotional, and physical challenge, and it can be a once in a lifetime experience for many.

In spite of this, it offers Muslims the opportunity to refresh their spiritual selves, to cleanse their sins, and to draw closer to Allah (SWT).

Here you can find out everything you need to know about Hajj and what it entails.

Is Hajj always held on the same dates?

Depending on the sighting of the moon, Hajj takes place between the 8th and the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah each year.

Some of the most sacred periods in the Islamic calendar are in Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth month of the year. As the Islamic calendar operates on the lunar cycle, dates appear to shift forward approximately 11-12 days when compared to the Gregorian calendar.

Although Hajj has its own unique rites and rituals, it also shares some similarities with Umrah, which is a voluntary pilgrimage that can be performed at any time of the year.

Historically, Hajj has been performed on the following dates:

  • July 7th – 12th, 2022
  • July 17th – 22nd, 2021
  • 28th July – 2nd August 2020
  • The dates for 2019 are 9th August – 14th August
  • 19th – 24th August 2018

What is the location of the Hajj?

As part of the Hajj pilgrimage performed in Makkah, modern day Saudi Arabia, a series of rites and rituals is performed across several locations within the vicinity of Makkah over a period of five to six days.

Locations include:

  • Makkah is a city in Saudi Arabia
  • Mina’s tent settlement
  • ‘Arafah Mountain
  • Al-Muzdalifah

Hajj Exclusions: Who Is Excluded?

Each Muslim must perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime. However, Muslims are only required to perform Hajj if it is within their capability, and the Hajj is not intended as a burden.

The following people are exempt from Hajj:

  • To begin with, only Muslim adults (males and females) are required to perform Hajj. Children are not required to perform Hajj.
  • Furthermore, Muslims who are very weak, sick, elderly, or physically incapable are exempt from performing the pilgrimage.
  • Finally, a Muslim must be financially capable of performing Hajj. If a Muslim is in debt, they can still perform Hajj if they:
  • It is permitted by the creditor
  • Debtors have time to pay off their debts
  • The Hajj does not affect their ability to repay their debts

Find out everything you need to know about Hajj in our Hajj facts.

Hajj: A Brief History

It was in 628 CE when the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Muslims embarked on their first Islamic pilgrimage (Hajj), reestablishing the traditions that had been started by Prophet Ibrahim (AS), who had initiated the tradition millennia earlier.

In Hajj, the story begins with Ibrahim (AS) and his obedience to Allah’s (SWT’s) command to leave his wife Hajar and infant son Ismail (AS) in the barren desert of Makkah.

In a desperate attempt to find water, Hajar ran between the neighboring hills of Safa and Marwa in search of someone who could help or nearby water when they ran out of resources. Seven times she did this, but Ismail (AS) cried as she returned empty handed.

When the baby cried, Ismail (AS) struck the ground with his leg, causing a stream of water to flow. This stream of water relieved the pair of their thirst and became a resource with which they traded for provisions of all kinds with travelling merchants. Today, the well of Zam Zam is called that stream of water.

Years later, Ibrahim (AS) was commanded to return to his family, only to find them alive and well. The pitch that had begun with Hajar and Ismail (AS) was now becoming the thriving settlement that we know as Makkah.

The Kaaba was built by Ibrahim (AS) with the assistance of his son Ismail (AS), in the exact spot it was originally built by Adam (AS), the first man and prophet of Allah (SWT).

Known as the Kaaba, the stone structure marks the spot where Muslims unite to worship the one God. It is not something that is worshipped, as idolatry is forbidden in Islam.

Pagan Arabs filled the Kaaba with idols over time.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was instructed to reinstate Ibrahim’s (AS) sacred tradition when he received revelation and the final message of Tawheed (monotheism).

In our comprehensive Hajj guide, you can learn more about this story, Qurbani, and more.

How Long Has It Been Since The First Hajj Pilgrimage?

In 628 CE, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Muslims performed the first Hajj. As instructed by Allah (SWT), he (peace and blessings be upon him) was instructed to re-establish the traditions started by Prophet Ibrahim (AS), millennia ago.