The Hajj and Islamic Pilgrimage

If you’re already familiar with the Hajj then this essay isn’t going to break any new ground for you, but if you’re not then I hope you come away with at least a basic understanding of its purpose, origins, and practices. The Hajj is a group pilgrimage to the city of Mecca (whose full name is Makkah al-Mukarramah, which literally means “Holy Mecca” but is usually rendered as “the Holy City of Mecca”), in the western region of Saudi Arabia known as the Hejaz. It occurs from 8-12 in the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah on the Islamic calendar (though with the size of the crowd, for many people the pilgrimage actually runs until Dhu’l-Hijjah 13, which I’ll explain below). Because the Islamic year is lunar, it jumps around with respect to our Gregorian year and that’s why the Hajj takes place at a different time each year if you’re not using Hijri dating.

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