History of Hajj
Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, which makes it mandatory for every financially and physically able Muslim to visit Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as a pilgrimage at least once in their life. The reward of this pilgrimage, as promised by Allah, is a place in paradise.
The rites of the Hajj were first revealed by Allah to Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim). It was around this time when he was entrusted to build the House of Allah, the Kaaba at Mecca (Makkah). His son, Ishmael (Ismail) helps him along and afterwards they both would come to Mecca to perform Hajj. Ishmael continued this practice even after the death of his father. But, with the passage of time, both the objective and rites of Hajj got changed. As idolatry became common, a number of idols were kept inside Kaaba, and its walls were covered with paintings and poems. This led the people of Mecca and Arabia (Saudi Arabia of now) on a broader scale, to abandon the teachings of Prophet Abraham. The pagans completely desecrated the House and distorted the rights that were established by Prophet Abraham. This continued for about 2500 years, before Muhammad ibn Abdullah – Prophet Muhammad was born in the same city, to resurrect the message and rites that were once established by Prophet Abraham.
The Prophet once again purified the Kaaba and reinstated the rites of Hajj, which were made by common by Prophet Abraham by the permission of Allah. All the practices that were born out of ignorance in the pre-Islamic era, were abolished and the importance of Hajj was again made clear.
The rites and rituals of Hajj that were on the edge of losing out to ignorance were reinforced and have since been followed by millions of pilgrims who visit Mecca. When Muslims now go to Mecca on pilgrimage, they don’t see frivolity, frolic, and carnivals anymore. Now, Hajj has an essence that Allah had first revealed to Prophet Abraham. Hajj now is all about the remembrance of the Almighty. Every step that is taken is to please Allah and to ask his forgiveness for the entire sins one has done.
May Allah grant us the opportunity of visiting the sacred place and the ability to perform Hajj in the way of the Prophet.