Skip to main content
Select Source:

ḥajj

Ḥajj (Arab.). Pilgrimage to Mecca, specifically to the Kaʿba, during the month Dhūʾl-Ḥijja. This is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, a duty ordered in the Qurʾān (3. 91/97). This is incumbent upon every adult free Muslim, of sound mind, with sufficient funds to cover his journey and the expenses of his family during his absence. Women should be suitably escorted.

The general term ḥajj includes the ʿumra (lesser pilgrimage) to the Kaʿba, which can be performed at any time of the year but does not itself fulfil the obligations of ḥajj.

The area around Mecca is designated ḥarām (holy); the male pilgrim on reaching the boundary exchanges his usual clothes for two pieces of white cloth, covering the upper and lower parts of the body, and wears sandals; women, also in white, cover their whole body except face and hands. The pilgrim has now entered the state of iḥrām, and until the end of the ḥajj ceremonies he must not put on other clothes, wear shoes, cut nails or hair, engage in sexual relations, take part in arguments, fighting, nor hunting of game. The talbīyah is repeated frequently.

In Mecca itself the pilgrim goes first to the Masjid al-Ḥarām for the rites of ṭawāf, ‘circumambulation’ of the Kaʿba, and of saʿy, ‘running’, and will if possible kiss the Black Stone. The ḥajj proper begins on the seventh day, with a khuṭba (sermon) at the mosque. On the eighth day, all pilgrims move eastwards from Mecca, spending that night at Minā or, further on, at ʿArafāt. On the ninth day, the central and essential part of ḥajj takes place, the wuqūf (‘standing’) at ʿArafāt, before a small hill named Jabal al-Raḥma. Then pilgrims hurry back to the small town of Muzdalifa within the Meccan boundaries, to stay overnight. On the tenth day, which is ʿId al-Aḍḥā, they move to Minā, first to throw seven small stones (see RAJM) at a rock called Jamrat al-ʿAqaba, then to perform the ritual sacrifice. From Minā the pilgrims return to Mecca to perform another ṭawāf; then the head can be shaved, or the hair cut, and the state of iḥrām is over.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"ḥajj." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"ḥajj." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj

"ḥajj." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj

hajj

hajj (häj), the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, one of the five basic requirements (arkan or "pillars" ) of Islam. Its annual observance corresponds to the major holy day id al-adha, itself a commemoration of Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son on Divine orders. While the hajj is a religious obligation to be fulfilled at least once in the course of the life of each Muslim, religious law grants many exclusions on grounds of hardship. The hajj is a series of extensively detailed rituals. These include wearing a special garment that symbolizes unity and modesty, collective circumambulations of the Kaaba, and the symbolic stoning of evil. A central event of the pilgrimage is at the station on the plain of Arafat, some ten miles from Mecca, where, the massive crowds notwithstanding, the pilgrim is required to be completely alone with God performing the rite of wuquf or "standing." It is here that the Prophet Muhammad addressed his followers during his last pilgrimage. The Mecca rituals are customarily followed by a visit to the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. The hajj, gathering more than 2 million Muslims annually today, was perhaps the greatest impetus to voluntary mobility before modern times. The economic, cultural, and political importance of this major annual gathering of Muslims from around the world has further increased with the advent of telecommunications and transport technologies, though the increased numbers have taxed the available facilities. Those who have completed the pilgrimage are entitled to add the phrase al-Hajj or hajji (pilgrim) to their name.

See R. F. Burton's Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to el-Medinah and Meccah (1857); J. S. Birks, Across the Savannas to Mecca (1978); S. M. Zafar, Haj (1978); G. A. W. Makky, Mecca (1978); V. Porter, ed., Hajj (2012).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"hajj." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"hajj." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hajj

"hajj." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hajj

hajj

hajj the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca which takes place in the last month of the year, and which all Muslims are expected to make at least once during their lifetime. The word comes from Arabic (al-) ḥajj ‘(the Great) Pilgrimage’. A Muslim who has been to Mecca as a pilgrim is known as a haji.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"hajj." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"hajj." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj

"hajj." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj

hajj

hajj / haj/ (also haj or hadj) • n. the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that takes place in the last month of the year, and that all Muslims are expected to make at least once during their lifetime.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"hajj." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"hajj." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj-1

"hajj." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj-1

Hajj

Hajj (Arabic, ‘migration’) Pilgrimage to Mecca, made in the 12th month of the Muslim year. All Muslims are required to undertake the Hajj. It is the last of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hajj." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hajj." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hajj

"Hajj." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hajj

hajj

hajjbadge, cadge, hajj, Madge

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"hajj." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"hajj." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj-0

"hajj." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hajj-0