(Assalam Alai kum . Today we bring you a very interesting article on a subject which I am sure you may have never heard before. Anfa Aziz, Regional Head West has compiled the information on how Hajj has been performed through different ages ( era of Prophet Ibrahim, Pre Islamic Arabia, Prophet Muhammad, and Modern times). This blog shall give you a sneak peak into hajj rituals during each phase. )
Hajj is a pilgrimage made to the Kaaba, the "House of Allah", in the sacred city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. The rites of Hajj are performed over five or six days, beginning on the eighth day and ending on the thirteenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
It is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and its mandatory for all Muslims to make at least once in their lives, provided they are physically and financially capable.
Lets have a look over How Hajj was performed during different ages :-
When prophet Ibrahim AS built KABAAH
The Quran states that Ibrahim AS along with his son Ismail AS , raised the foundations of a house that is identified by most commentators as the Kaaba. When Ibrahim (peace be upon him) completed the structure of the Kaaba, Allah commanded him to call the people to Hajj. Ibrahim (peace be upon him) pleaded, "O Allah! How shall my voice reach all of those people?" Allah told him that his duty was only to give the call and it was up to Allah to make it reach the people.
Ibrahim (peace be upon him) then climbed Mount Arafat and called out in his loudest voice, "O People! Verily Allah has prescribed upon you Hajj, so perform Hajj."The Quran refers to these incidents in 2:124-127 and 22:27-30 The rituals of Hajj we do today have their origin in the time of the prophet Ibrahim
Pre-Islamic Arabs were worshippers of other gods. Kaaba was still the center of their worshipping and was filled with idols and images of angels. During the annual pilgrimage season, people from home and abroad would visit Kaaba. The Quraysh tribe was in charge of entertaining and serving the pilgrims. The Pagan Arabs introduced some unholy rites during their pilgrimage. During the Hajj period itself, the atmosphere around the sacred precincts of the Kaba was like a circus. Men and women would go round the Kaba naked, arguing that they should present themselves before Allah in the same condition they were born. Their prayer became devoid of all sincere remembrance of Allah and was instead reduced to a series of hand-clapping, whistling, and the blowing of horns. Even the Talbiyah was distorted by them with the following additions: 'No one is Your partner except one who is permitted by you. You are his Master and the Master of what he possesses'.
Sacrifices were also made in the name of God. However, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured onto the walls of the Kaba and the flesh was hung from pillars around the Kaba, in the belief that Allah demanded the flesh and blood of these animals.
Singing, drinking, adultery, and other acts of immorality was rife amongst the pilgrims and the poetry competitions, which were held, were a major part of the whole Hajj event. In these competitions, poets would praise the bravery and splendor of their own tribesmen
Unlike today's Hajj, they did not walk between the hills of Safa and Marwah and did not gather at Arafat.
Hajj During Prophet Muhammad PBUH
The present pattern of the Hajj was established by Prophet Muhammad PBUH who made reforms to the pre-Islamic pilgrimage of the pagan Arabs . Makkah was conquered by the Muslims in 630 CE. Prophet Muhammad PBUH then cleansed the Kaaba by removing all the pagan forms of worship and re-consecrated the building to Allah. Next year, at the direction of Prophet Muhammad PBUH , Abu Bakr led 300 Muslims to the pilgrimage in Makkah where HAdrat Ali R.A delivered a sermon stipulating the new rites of Hajj and abrogating the pagan rites. He especially declared that no unbeliever and pagan would be allowed to circumambulate the Kaaba from the next year.. In 632 CE, shortly before his death, Prophet Muhammad PBUH performed his only and last pilgrimage with a large number of followers, and taught them the rites of the Hajj and the manners of performing them. The hajj now included mainly 7 steps including travel to Muzdalfah, Mina, Arafat etc .Hajj was made compulsory in 09th Hijri.
Hajj in modern Times
Alhamdulillah in today’s modern time Hajj has become very easy as compared to the olden days. The pilgrims can now travel through an affordable Air travel system which is very convenient and saves time.
Most of the Hajj related issues are handled by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Making necessary arrangements each year for the growing number of pilgrims poses a logistic challenge for the government of Saudi Arabia, which has, since the 1950s, spent more than $100 billion to increase pilgrimage facilities. Major issues like housing, transportation, sanitation, and health care have been addressed and improved greatly by the government by introducing various development programs, with the result that pilgrims now enjoy modern facilities and perform various rites at ease.