The Sacred Journey: An Insight into the Haj Pilgrimage

The haj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, undertaken by millions of Muslims as a religious duty. It is a significant Islamic practice and symbol of faith. Managed through a quota system, it has faced several safety challenges, prompting infrastructure upgrades by the Saudi government.


Reuters | Dubai | Updated: 11-06-2024 13:04 IST | Created: 11-06-2024 13:04 IST
The Sacred Journey: An Insight into the Haj Pilgrimage
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Here is a look at the haj, one of the largest mass gatherings in the world, which starts in Saudi Arabia on Friday. * The haj is an annual pilgrimage that millions of Muslims make to Mecca with the intention of performing religious rites as taught by the Prophet Mohammad to his followers 14 centuries ago.

* The fifth pillar of Islam, the haj is mandatory once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it and is the most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity. * The haj begins in the 12th month of the Islamic year, which is lunar, not solar, meaning the haj and the fasting month of Ramadan can fall at different times of the solar calendar each year.

* A quota system for visitors to Mecca was introduced in 1987, agreed by member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to limit the number allowed by each country to 0.1% of its population. * Stampedes, tent fires and other accidents have caused hundreds of deaths over the past 30 years, forcing the Saudi government to build new infrastructure. In 2011, Saudi Arabia began the biggest expansion yet of the Grand Mosque of Mecca to increase its capacity to 2 million. A new railway will link the holy sites around Mecca.

* Eid al-Adha, one of Islam's two main festivals, marks the climax of the annual haj pilgrimage, when Muslims slaughter animals - to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son on God's command - often distributing meat to the poor.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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