Hajj is the obligation on those Muslims who are financially and physically able to perform it at least once in their lifetime. It is performed once a year in the month of Dhul Hijja (the last month in the Islamic Calendar), and every year millions of Muslim travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.
Hajj is performed over the course of five days from 8th Dhul Hijja to 12th Dhul Hijja, and Muslims celebrate Hajj on its second day (9th of Dhul Hijja).
This year according to Gregorian calendar, the days of Hajj are 9th August - 14th August, 2019 but may vary due to moon sighting. In some countries, Hajj will be celebrated on 10th August 2019 and in some, on 11th August 2019 because the sighting of the moon varies in countries.
The five days of Hajj are as follow:
1st Day of Hajj (8th of Dhul Hijja)
On the 1st day of Hajj, Muslims wear ihram (two pieces of unstitched cloth for men and for women a dress that covers her completely, except for her face and hands), and declare their intention to perform Hajj. They then perform tawaf (walking around Kaaba, in Masjid-e-Haram, Mecca, for seven times) and Sa’i (walking seven times between Safa and Marwah hills, suited adjacent to the Kaaba). Then, Muslims walk or travel 8 km from Mecca to Mina, where they stay overnight, and prays and remember Allah.
2nd Day of Hajj (9th of Dhul Hijja)
Muslim travel from Mina to Arafat, a place where Prophet (PBUH) gave his last sermon to the Muslims during Hajj, and on this day Muslims celebrate Hajj. Here Muslims pray, listen to Hajj sermon and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. Then after sunset, Muslim travel from Arafat to Muzdalifah, where they pray their sunset and night prayers together and collect 49 pebbles for throwing it at three stone pillars (Satan) in Mina. Muslims spent their night at Muzdalifah.
3rd Day of Hajj (10th of Dhul Hijja)
This day Muslims leave Muzdalifah and return to Mina to throw seven pebbles at the largest pillar. Then they offer the sacrifice of an animal. Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Adha on this day. Later, Muslims travel to Mecca to perform tawaf. And after tawaf, they return to Mina. Furthermore, men shave their head and females are required to cut the lock of their hair.
4th and 5th Day of Hajj (11th and 12th Day of Dhul Hijja)
Muslims remain in Mina and throw pebbles at the three pillars.
On 12th they left Mina for Mecca, and before heading back to their home and leaving Mecca, Muslims had to perform the last tawaf, and this ends the rituals of Hajj.
Muslims across the world, who weren’t able to participate in Hajj pilgrimage, celebrate Hajj by fasting (not obligatory). Some prefer to fast on 9th of Dhul Hijja, some on 8th and 9th of Dhul Hijja, and some from 1st to 9th of Dhul Hijja. Other than that, in some Muslim countries, like Pakistan, 9th of Dhul Hijja is a public holiday.
Hajj is a celebration, and everyone celebrates it in their way. Those going on Hajj pilgrimage this year; we wish them a safe and easy journey.