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Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and it is a pilgrimage that should be made at least once during a Muslim's lifetime. The pilgrimage starts and ends in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. It always takes place from the 8th to the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, which is the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Hajj has great significance for Muslims. Even though it is a requirement to go on Hajj once in a lifetime, many Muslims go a number of times, especially those who live close to Makkah. Once someone has completed Hajj, they can be referred to as a Hajji.
Muslims must fulfill the requirement of performing Hajj at least once during their lifetime, as long as they are able to afford it. In Book 10 of the hadith, it proves the obligatoriness of Hajj- “Oh people! Hajj has been made incumbent upon you, so perform Hajj”. If the message about Hajj was shown through a hadith, it proves that it is compulsory to perform Hajj. Hadiths are the second most authentic books in Islam, which a Muslim can refer to if they are unsure about something and their answer is not in the Qur’an.
Muslims go to Hajj because it makes them feel closer to God and cleaner from the inside. People say that by performing Hajj all your sins will be forgiven. It is like a new beginning for a Muslim, people go to get a fresh start and forget about their recent past. In the Qur’an, the mercy of God is explained- “Then depart from the place from where the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful”. This shows that repenting for your sins in the house of Allah will ensure that your sins are forgiven as there is no place as virtuous as the Masjid-Al Haram.
However, as previously mentioned, some Muslims may not be able to perform Hajj due to financial or psychical problems. It is not required upon these people to perform Hajj, even at least one time in their lifestyle. This is clearly stated in the Qur’an- “Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to God by people who are able to undertake it”. It shows that Allah (God) is very understanding towards everyone’s circumstances and does not make it obligatory for those in need. As well as this, it is not required for those who are too weak or old to perform Hajj, but they must get someone to perform it on their behalf.
All the five pillars of Islam are very important, but the Shahadah is the most important pillar because without the declaration that there is no god except God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God the other pillars cannot be practiced and in declaring this it also shows how they believe in the religion of Islam as a whole. The Shahadah may only be written once in the Qur’an in 3:18, but it is used many times throughout a Muslim’s life. It is the first and last words a Muslim will hear in their lifetime.
As a Muslim, I don’t think that completing the Hajj is the most important duty for a Muslim because it is forbidden for a Muslim to think that any other pillar of Islam is more important than the Shahadah, as it is the main foundation of Islam. However, the reward of completing Hajj is Jannah, and that is what every Muslim’s goal is.
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