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What is hajj: the pilgrimage that every Muslim must make at least once in his or her life

In Islam, the ḥajj is the traditional pilgrimage to the Holy Mosque in Mecca; it constitutes the fifth pillar of Islam. The pilgrimage is performed during the Dhū l-Ḥijja which is, in the Islamic calendar, the twelfth month of the year, of 29 or 30 days. In 2023, the pilgrimage is performed in the last days of June (Western calendar).

It is a pilgrimage that every Muslim is obliged to make on a compulsory basis, provided he or she has the means, first of all financial, and then physical. To date, hundreds of thousands of faithful have already celebrated the 'Tawaf of Advent', seven walks around the Kaaba, the black stone cube covered by the kiswa, an Italian silk cloth, embroidered in gold by Saudi artisans.

The significance, for followers of Islam, is to retrace the journey of Ibrahim and Ismail, i.e. Abraham and his son Ishmael in Christian and Jewish traditions.

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Discovering the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
In Islam, the ḥajj is the traditional pilgrimage to the Holy Mosque in Mecca; it constitutes the fifth pillar of Islam. The pilgrimage is performed during the Dhū l-Ḥijja which is, in the Islamic calendar, the twelfth month of the year, of 29 or 30 days. In 2023, the pilgrimage is performed in the last days of June (western calendar).
Getty Images
Discovering the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
It is a pilgrimage that every Muslim is obliged to make, provided they have the means, first of all financial, and then physical. To date, hundreds of thousands of believers have already celebrated the 'Tawaf of Advent', seven walks around the Kaaba, the black stone cube covered by the kiswa, an Italian silk cloth, embroidered in gold by Saudi artisans.
Getty Images
Discovering the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
The significance, for the followers of Islam, is to retrace the journey of Ibrahim and Ismail, i.e. Abraham and his son Ishmael in the Christian and Jewish traditions.
Di Seeley International - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?cur
Discovering the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
The streets of the city of Mina are invaded by pilgrims, coming (this year) from over 160 countries around the world. On the outskirts of the city, a huge tent city has been set up, as usual, to accommodate the pilgrims, air-conditioned and comfortable as best as possible.
Di Ali Mansuri, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=252563
Discovering the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
This pilgrimage was finally organised without restrictions, after three years conditioned by the Coronavirus. However, a maximum number of two million worshippers (from abroad) and a maximum of 250,000 from within the country has been imposed. This was due to the events of 2015, where the overcrowding caused the death of some 2,400 worshippers.
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Discovering the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
This journey represents the pinnacle of life for every faithful Muslim. In fact, this pilgrimage is a source of pride for the pilgrim, who proudly flaunts it with images of ships, planes and every other symbol of the journey to Mecca. After the hajj celebrations, the 'Feast of Sacrifice', Eid al-Adha, begins and ends on 1 July: during this week, the Muslim world stops to honour its most important rites.
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Discovering the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
Islamic jurisprudence gives the possibility, for those physically impeded but financially able, to delegate another person to perform the religious obligation, the spiritual benefits of which will accrue to the person who has paid for the journey and the maintenance of the person in charge. It is also possible to bequeath funds for the rite to be performed in the name and for the benefit of the deceased.
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19/04/2024
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