When is Hajj 2022? The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca explained

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Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia attended by millions of Muslims each year

Hajj, also spelled Hajj, is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city, Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

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Pilgrimage is an obligatory religious duty that must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all Muslim adults with the financial and physical means.

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But when is Hajj in 2022 and what is the symbolism behind the pilgrimage? Here’s what you need to know.

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When is Hajj 2022?

In the Islamic calendar, days begin with sunset since the calendar is based on the lunar cycle.

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This also means that Islamic dates change every year, moving up by 10-11 days through the Gregorian calendar seasons.

This year, the Hajj begins at dusk on Thursday, July 7th and ends on Tuesday, July 12th.

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In the Islamic calendar, the Hajj takes place over ten days, from the 1st to the 10th of the twelfth month, Dhu al-Hijjah. Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, also takes place in this month.

The Hajj itself lasts about five to six days.

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What are the five pillars of Islam?

The Hajj is one of the five key acts in Islam, also known as the pillars. These are obligatory expectations expected of every Muslim in their lifetime.

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Besides the Hajj, the other pillars are:

  • Shahadah – A creed
  • Salat – Pray five times a day
  • Zakat – Giving alms
  • Sawm – Fasting for a month during the month of Ramadan

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam as Mecca, where Muslims travel during Hajj and where the Islamic religion began. It was here that the Islamic prophet Muhammad was born and received the first revelations from God that led to the formation of the Islamic holy book, the Koran.

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Muslims make pilgrimages to Mecca as it is also home to the Kaaba, a holy site built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael.

During salat (prayer) Muslims pray towards this sacred site, which symbolizes the unity of God.

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What happens during the Hajj?

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat near Mecca to take part in one of the Hajj rituals

Muslims follow several rituals on this pilgrimage. First they must enter a state of Ihram equal to sanctity to mark the beginning of the ritual for each person. This is initiated at Miqat, the physical boundary where Hajj begins.

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Those in Ihram must wear plain white. Men must wear two pieces of white cloth worn in a specific way, and women wear traditional clothing and must have their hair covered – but not their face.

The simplicity of this clothing symbolizes the equality of all Muslims before God.

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Muslims should not cut their hair, cut their nails, wear perfume, or have sex during the pilgrimage.

After Ihram, Muslims then go to the mosque surrounding the Kaaba, the Masjid al-Haram, and follow the ritual of walking around the Kaaba counterclockwise seven times.

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This is followed by walking or running seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah. The reason why Muslims do this is because they believe that Prophet Abraham’s wife, Hagar, did this while she was looking for water for her young son Ishmael.

It is believed that Ishmael struck the ground with his foot and this produced a spring of water known as Zamzam, now considered holy water.

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It is customary for pilgrims to take water from Zamzam when they go home.

What is the route of the Hajj pilgrimage?

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On July 20, 2021, worshipers perform the Al-Adha prayers on the first day of the festival around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the holy Saudi city of Mecca

On the first day of Hajj – Pilgrims enter into a state of holiness by wearing Ihram while in Mecca and head to Mina, a town about 10 km outside the city. Large groups tend to make this trip and they camp when there. Mina, the city of tents, has over 100,000 air-conditioned tents that provide temporary accommodation for Hajj pilgrims. Arrived in Mina, the day is spent in prayer.

On the second day of Hajj – From Mina, before noon, the pilgrims move 15 km towards the deserts of Arafat. As part of the trip, spend an afternoon in the plains listening to prayers and sermons from the Mount of Mercy (Jabal al-Rahmah), where Prophet Muhammad is said to have delivered his last sermon.

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This standing is known as Wuquf, standing before God, and is a major rite of Hajj. Then they pray until sunset before driving 10 km further to Mizdilafah after moonlight.

On this leg of the journey, people collect pebbles for the next day’s rituals before camping for the night.

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The third day of Hajj – Eid al-Adha begins and pilgrims head towards Mina and on to Jamarat Bridge where a symbolic stoning of the devil takes place. It involves people throwing seven pebbles at a wall depicting the devil before sacrificing an animal.

The sacrifice is not always performed in person, and people can instead purchase an offering voucher in Mecca to have it performed through a proxy. After that, in Mecca, the circumambulation of the Kaaba and running between hills is performed. From here on, normal clothing can be worn and most choose to spend the night in Mina.

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All male pilgrims shave their heads in a ritual known as halak.

The fourth day of Hajj — The next day, the pilgrims again go to the Jamarat Bridge and perform the stoning of the devil. Pilgrims spend the night again in Mina.

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The fifth day of Hajj — Another devil stoning ceremony takes place on this day, and at sunset the pilgrims return to Mecca.

On the sixth day of Hajj — On the last day, the pilgrims perform another ritual around the Kaaba, which ends the pilgrimage.

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