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Tuesday, 14 January 2014 07:37

Waqf al Arafa - Hajj Day

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The faith of Islam has five pillars, and the Hajj is one of them. 

The other four are

 

  • A profession of faith
  • Ritual prayer
  • Giving to the poor
  • Fasting during Ramadan.

The Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world.      The Hajj is an obligation that each able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so must carry out at least once in their lifetime.

The pilgrimage occurs from the 10th to the 15th day of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.

The Hajj is associated with the life of Mohammed, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca goes back to the time of Abraham and Ishmael.  Hundreds of thousands of people travel to Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals.  Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building which Muslims focus their prayers on, wherever they are in the world.  They then run back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa, drink from the Zamzam Well, stand vigil on the plains of Mount Arafat, and throw stones in a ritual stoning of the devil.

The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform an animal sacrifice, and celebrate the Eid al-Adha or Festival of Sacrifice.  Waqf al Arafa is the day during Hajj when pilgrims pray for forgiveness and mercy. The pilgrims stay awake at night to pray on the hill of Arafat, which is the traditional site where Muhammad delivered his last sermon to his community.

Read 1565 times Last modified on Friday, 14 February 2014 07:21
Elsabe Smit

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