The pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is the supreme token of Islamic faith and unity where for all the Muslims in the world, the Hajj is the supreme expression of Islamic solidarity and it constitutes a declaration of equality and brotherhood of the entire Muslim Ummah. According to Sahih Bukhari, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or transgression will come back as free from sins as the day his mother bore him.”

Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on June 11, 2024 ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage. Hajj 2024: When is Hajj? Date of Muslims pilgrimage to Kaaba at Mecca in Saudi Arabia (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)

Hajj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Kaaba, the “House of God”, in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia as it is considered one of the five pillars of Islam and is an obligation for all able-bodied and financially capable Muslims to perform at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj pilgrimage takes place during the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, specifically from the 8th to the 12th of that month.

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During Hajj, millions of Muslims from around the world gather in Mecca to fulfill religious rituals that commemorate the actions of the Prophet Muhammad and the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). The pilgrimage holds deep spiritual significance and serves as a time of reflection, repentance and unity among Muslims.

Date:

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia determined that Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar, would begin on Friday, June 07, 2024. Saudi Arabia said the Hajj will start on June 14, 2024 after astronomical observatories spotted the crescent moon on Thursday evening, June 06, signalling the beginning of the month in which the annual pilgrimage falls.

Accordingly, the Day of Arafah will occur on June 15 this year while the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha will fall on June 16, as per the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA). On a more elaborate note, Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, takes place from the 8th to the 12th of Dhul Hijjah where on 8th Dhul Hijjah (Yawm at-Tarwiyah), pilgrims begin their Hajj rituals; on 9th Dhul Hijjah (Yawm Arafat), the most significant day of Hajj, pilgrims gather on the plain of Arafat to pray and seek forgiveness while on the day of Eid ul Adha i.e. 10th Dhul Hijjah (Yawm an-Nahr), pilgrims perform the ritual of animal sacrifice (Qurbani) to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah.

Allah provided a ram to sacrifice instead. Finally, Hajj ends on 12th Dhul Hijjah. This year, 8th Dhul Hijjah will fall on June 14, which will mark the onset of the pilgrimage. It is often assumed that Eid ul Adha falls a day after Hajj however, it is not true nor has this ever been the norm followed by Muslims all over the world. After the first day of Dhul Hijjah is established, then the tenth of that month is calculated hence, the date of Eid ul Adha is different for different places.

At a press conference on Thursday, Tawfiq al-Rabiah, the Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister, revealed that “approximately 1.2 million pilgrims from various countries of the world” had already arrived in Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj. Last year more than 1.8 million Muslims took part in the hajj, according to official figures.


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