It is incumbent upon Muslims to perform Hajj, at least once in a lifetime, as long as they are of sound health and possess the means. It is performed in the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam: “Pilgrimage to the House is a duty to God for all who can make the Journey.” (3:97) Among all our acts of worship, Hajj is called the supreme act of worship. Both remembrance of God and sacrifice for His sake are part of Hajj.
The message of Hajj is that man should make God the very pivot of his existence. Once the pilgrim’s train of thought has become God-oriented, he begins to ponder over major issues: God’s act of creation, particularly His creation of himself.
His affording him diverse opportunities of bettering himself in this world, His very benevolence which makes it possible for him to set forth on this journey to the House of God. This inculcates the spirit of Shukr or thankfulness in him.
The spirit of Shukr is the foremost spirit attached to any act of worship, especially Hajj.
The journey to Hajj is a journey to God. It represents the ultimate closeness one can achieve to God while living in this world. The pilgrim also gives his mind to the day when he will meet his death and be summoned to the God. The pilgrims, therefore, gather on the plain of Arafat to remember the time when they will gather there on Judgment Day.
All pilgrims are dressed in ihram, two unstitched lengths of cloth. This symbolises that in the eyes of God, all are equal. This gives a strong sense of brotherhood, equality and humility, which is one of greatest messages of Hajj. Hajj brings to life a whole prophetic tradition, stretching from Prophet Abraham to Prophet Muhammad. The Prophets followed the Lord, they were obedient to His will and served His cause. In fact during Hajj, pilgrims enact the events from the life of Prophet Abraham and his family.