Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and the literal meaning of hajj is “intention”. In Islamic terminology, hajj means to make a pilgrimage of the house of Allah in the Islamic month of Zul-Hajjah with a view to perform hajj. Hajj is compulsory for all sane, adult and monetarily capable Muslims, at least once in their life, yet doing more than one hajj brings rewards and blessings too. Hajj became obligatory in the ninth year of Hijrah.
Hajj is an act of worship and is of following three kinds;
In Ifrad, the pilgrim is called Mufrid. He puts on Ihram at the Miqat prescribed for him for Hajj alone. He shall continue wearing it until the completion of all the rites of Hajj. It is desirable to offer a sacrifice but it is not obligatory.
In the Qiran, the pilgrim puts on Ihram at the Miqat prescribed for him for both Umrah and Hajj. On reaching Makkah he will perform Tawaf – al-Qodoom but doesn’t shave his head nor puts off Ihram. He shall take off his Ihram after performing the Hajj. Sacrifice is obligatory in this method.
In Tamatt’u, the pilgrim is called Mutamatt’a. He puts on Ihram for Umrah, after Umrah he shaves his head or cuts his hair and gets out of Ihram. Now he is free of all prohibitions of Ihram. On 8th of Dul Hajj he again puts on Ihram for Hajj. For mutamatta, sacrifice is obligatory.
Just like all other acts of worship, hajj also has lots of benefits and rewards.
One of the most important benefits of hajj is that it demonstrates Muslim brotherhood and equality. Muslims from all around the world gather in the House of Allah that increases the harmony among them. Muslims from all the races, creed, colours, nationalities and classes stand equally in front of their Lord without any discrimination; thus, this demonstrates equality among Muslims.
Trading is allowed during hajj. Pilgrims can engage in proper buying and selling to meet their expenses. Also, Muslims from different economic backgrounds unite during pilgrimage and they can discuss their economic affairs and find out the solution of their financial problems if any. Moreover, strategies for helping needy Muslims economically can also be their priority. So, hajj provides many economic benefits to the Muslims as well.
“It’s no crime in you, if you seek of the reward of your Lord (during pilgrimage).” (Surah Al-Baqarah 198)
As the Muslims from different parts of the world unite in Makkah for hajj every year, they can discuss the political issues faced by the Muslims and can find out a better solution to address those problems.
Hajj is an act of worship and is therefore of great spiritual benefits to the Muslims. Muslims learn self control during hajj as they have to refrain from certain things in pilgrimage. Also, it is training of Muslims to remember Allah more and more. Hajj is an experience of becoming closer to Allah that gives spiritual peace to the Muslims.
The rewards of hajj can be clear from the following ahadees;
Hence, Hajj is an act of worship that is of great importance in Islam and gives many benefits and rewards to the Muslims.