How Did Hajj Come Twice in the Same Year?
- Sheik Yusuf
Hajj? Twice in the same year? Is it possible? How?
Well, technically it does (and it doesn't) occur twice in this year. Let me explain (while I am preparing for Hajj for right now):
You see, Hajj (pilgrimage) comes in the month of Dhul Hijjah (the 9th day is the actual Day of Arafat). And there are 354 days in the lunar calendar, but 365.25 days in the sun calendar. When it occurs like this year, the lunar calendar is exactly within the sun calendar in a way to make the dates of Hajj occur at the very beginning of the year of the sun calendar and the very end of the sun calendar at the same time.
Let me share with you some more interesting things I have learned about Hajj . . .If you are not familiar with the rites of hajj (pilgrimage) in Islam, all of this would make little, if any sense at all. But when you come to know that these manask (rituals) are a part of something far greater and as old as recorded history, it may begin to open a better understanding of why 3 million people a year risk their very lives and often spend everything they have just to go to the Arabian desert - remove their comfortable and expensive clothes to replace them with two sheets (or over sized bath towels) take off their designer shoes or sneakers to put on a pair of rubber sandals, and then begin to walk, trot and run through what some might consider to be an obstacle course or training camp.
Hajj (pilgrimage) is something long associated with the religion of Abraham, peace be upon him. The Jews, Christians and Muslims all except the fact that the prophet of God called Abram (Abram later became known as Abraham according to the Old Testament) from ancient Iraq had to go on a long and tedious trek throughout what is today considered to be the "Holy Land" that includes most of the area of Iraq, Arabia, Palestine and Egypt.
One journey took him to Bekkah (latter called Makkah) in the Arabian desert just off the western coast of the Red Sea. He left his wife and son, Ishmael (Ismail in Arabic) their at a place that is now known for the water of Zamzam. This was an ancient site for worship of the One true God Almighty (Allah in Arabic). This is the very place where Abraham, peace be upon him, was tested by God to see if he would actually offer his son as a sacrifice for God, although he had waited almost one hundred years to have a child. Although Abraham, peace be upon him, was willing to perform the feat and offer his son, he was shown the true Mercy of God, when Allah made a ram appear to be sacrificed in his son's place. This event is interpreted in different ways by the Jews, Christians and Muslims as to the significance, but they all agree to its importance as a key part of their respective religions.
This occasion is one that I in particular was studying about as a Christian preacher, when I first learned about the Islamic view on the subject. I was so impressed that I continued my studies of Islam and prayed to God that He guide me to the right path. And of course the results were, that I entered into Islam. And now here I am today, performing those very sacred rites associated with the first Hajj of Abraham, peace be upon him.
My family and I are traveling half way around the world to be a part of this most magnificent event. We can all tell you first hand, that it is not easy. Yet it is something that if you understand and participate to the best of your ability, you will receive benefits beyond anything that this would has to offer.
For the Muslims, Hajj is one of the five primary pillars and if it is completed correctly, the promise is forgiveness of sins and entrance to Paradise for the true believers.
May Allah grant a successful Hajj to all the believers, ameen.