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A Brief History of Hajj


The Hajj dates back to 2,000 B.C., when prophet Ismail (AS), the Prophet Ibrahim’s (or Abraham, as he is known in the Old Testament) young son, and the Prophet’s wife Lady Hajra was trapped in the desert. With prophet Ismail near death from dehydration, lady Hajra rushed back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwa in search of water until the angel Jibril (Gabriel) landed on earth and constructed the well of Zamzam, a stream of fresh water for the baby. 

On Allah’s orders, Prophet Ibrahim is said to have built a memorial at the spring site known as the Ka’aba. In 630 A.D., Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Islam’s most revered icon, led a clique of Muslims there in the first formal Hajj, eliminating the idols by polytheistic devotees and re-dedicating the site to Allah’s name. 

The Hajj rituals include: 

  • Making lady Hajar walk between Safa and Marwa. 
  • Stoning the wall of Shaitan lured Prophet Ibrahim to defy God. 
  • Sacrificing an animal in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice. 
  • Climbing the Mount of Arafat from which Mohammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon. 

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Revolving around the Kaaba, a vast black cube considered by Muslims to be the center of the world and placed in the middle of the Masjid al-Haram Mosque in Makkah is the most important ritual during the Hajj.  

Massively crowds of worshipers asking forgiveness during the Hajj circle the “abode of Allah” seven times counter-clockwise. Completing all required rituals is said to ensure the pilgrim a place in heaven and the title of ‘Haji’ (literally, one who has performed the Hajj), which is highly respected and treasured in Muslim communities all over the world. 

Although only a small percentage of Muslims can perform the Hajj, the massive crowds of worshipers that flock to Makkah every year put the site’s capacity to the test. The Saudi Arabian government has spent billions to develop and improve the site’s infrastructure, including erecting tents to house pilgrims and constructing multi-level pathways to remove traffic congestion. 


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