Zul Hajjah” the twelfth and the last month of the Islamic calendar, is the month set for performing Hajj and its rituals. To set out for some place literally is the definition and meaning of Hajj and it is an Arabic word.
This mandatory duty upon all adult Muslims men and women, all adult man and women are under an obligation of performing hajj once in a lifetime, according to Islamic teachings hajj implies to the act of going to the grand mosque of Mecca (house of GOD) to see necessary devotions related to the Pilgrimage.
The Pilgrimage is not only a duty obligated for Muslims for the sake of Almighty GOD, likewise all other Islamic duties and teachings, Hajj also teaches how to interact with brethren all around the world, people of different races, casts and tongues, it shows that all the Muslims are one and equal in front of Almighty GOD.
We can find commands about to hajj in several Qur’an verses, among them: “And when we assigned to Abraham the site of the Sacred House, saying ‘Do not associate with me anything, and purify my house for those who walk around my house, and those who stand up and prostrate and bow in prayer.
And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men, and they will come to you on foot and mounted on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways.” [Surah Al-Hajj: Verse 26-27].
The Holy Book confirms many times that long before Judaism and Christianity, Prophet Abraham worshiped the one and only GOD at the sacred house of one and true Lord in the middle of the grand mosque of Mecca.
Islam is undoubtedly the oldest and the most truth full religion on this earth, Hajj is also the largest religious gathering of people on earth. Besides this mandatory duty of hajj Muslims can also do a lesser hajj called Umrah. Umrah could be undertaken at any time and any month of the year except the days reserved for the greater hajj.
Hajj has many benefits for the lives of Muslims, the most important benefit of hajj is it serves as a penance to the Pilgrims, on one occasion Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrates that he heard the Prophet SAW say: “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any (obscenity) or (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother born him. [One of the most trusted source of Islamic teachings]
In brief hajj is categorized into three types: TAMATTU’, QIRAAN and IFRAAD.
TAMATTU’ refers to the act of performing Umrah in the month of Hajj.
QIRAAN, however, refers to a pilgrim who performs Hajj and Umrah jointly;
IFRAAD means that a pilgrim wears the ihram for Hajj only and he/she performs his Umrah only after completing the greater Hajj.