The Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi 2022 ArabiaLabayk Allahuma Labayk Labayk. La shareeka laka Labayk. Innal hamda wannimata laka wal mulk. La shareeka Lak
Here I am at your provider, oh Lord, here I am – right here I am. No associate do you have got. Here I am. Truly, the praise and the desire are yours, and the dominion. No companion do you’ve got.
These are the phrases chanted through a few two million human beings from throughout Saudi Arabia and in the course of the sector heading, as though pulled by using a magnet, to at least one unmarried spot on Earth. As has occurred every 12 months for 14 centuries, Muslim pilgrims accumulate in Makkah to perform rituals based totally on those carried out by way of the Prophet Muhammad at some stage in his remaining visit to the metropolis.
Performing these rituals, referred to as the Hajj, is the fifth pillar of Islam and the maximum enormous manifestation of Islamic faith and harmony. Undertaking the Hajj as a minimum as soon as is a obligation for Muslims who’re bodily and financially able to make the journey to Makkah. The emphasis on economic capacity is supposed to make certain that a Muslim looks after his family first. The requirement that a Muslim be healthy and bodily capable of assignment the pilgrimage is meant to exempt those who can not endure the trials of extended travel.
The pilgrimage is the spiritual high point of a Muslim’s lifestyles and an occasion that each Muslim desires of mission. Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, may be undertaken at any time of the 12 months; Hajj, but, is completed in the course of a five-day duration from the 9th through the 13th of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Muslim lunar calendar.
In the beyond, and as late because the early a long time of final century, few people had been able to “make their way” to Makkah for the pilgrimage. This turned into because of the hardships encountered, the duration of time the journey took and the fee associated with it. Pilgrims coming from the far corners of the Islamic international occasionally dedicated a year or greater to the journey, and many perished at some stage in it due in part to the shortage of facilities at the routes to Makkah and additionally within the metropolis itself.
The circumstances of the Hajj started out to improve throughout the time of King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, the founder of the cutting-edge Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Major applications were delivered to make certain the safety and protection of the pilgrims, as well as their well-being and comfort. Steps were additionally taken to establish facilities and services aimed toward improving housing, health care, sanitation and transportation.
Today, even though the rituals at the holy websites in and close to Makkah have remained unchanged from the time of the Prophet, the placing for the pilgrimage and the centers available to the pilgrims are a much cry from those who existed at any time in history. Hardship turned into once anticipated and persisted as part of the pilgrimage, and Muslims who launched into this task historically assigned a relative or depended on member of the network because the executor in their wills in case they did no longer go back from the journey.
Muslims nowadays adopt the pilgrimage in ease, acquire a warm welcome on their arrival in Saudi Arabia, and are supplied with the maximum current centers and green services viable. Without the distractions that their forebears needed to deal with, brand new pilgrims are unfastened to focus totally at the religious factor of the Hajj.
Preparing to Welcome the Guests of God
“It is clearly exceptional,” stated Rajeev Rahul, a journalist from the Philippines, as he stood at the roof of the Ministry of Information building near the Numeral Mosque in Arafat looking a column of pilgrims that stretched to Mina nearly 8 miles in the distance make their manner beyond the mosque towards the Mount of Mercy. “To arrange a meeting of humans this large, for housing them, for feeding them and for meeting their every need year after yr need to be a enormous undertaking,” he discovered.
Saudi Arabia considers serving the guests of God an honor, and dedicates sizeable manpower and economic assets to the right conduct of the pilgrimage. Over the beyond four decades, it has spent billions of dollars to enlarge the Holy Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, in addition to establishing contemporary airports, seaports, roads, lodging, and different facilities and offerings for the pilgrims.
The establishment of those facilities by using itself does now not make certain a a success Hajj. To do so, the Kingdom has positioned into area a good sized organization supervised by way of the Supreme Hajj Committee, which reports to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, who traditionally is in Makkah at some point of the pilgrimage. The committee seeks to coordinate the sports of various authorities ministries and companies and prevent redundancy. Each of these groups assumes responsibility for initiatives in its sphere of knowledge. For instance, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance issues special booklets at the rites of the Hajj in lots of languages for distribution among the pilgrims. The Ministry of Health oversees clinical services whilst the Ministry of Information hosts newshounds and members of the media from different international locations to cover the pilgrimage, whilst on the equal time arranging for stay transmissions of the rituals with the aid of satellite tv for pc in the course of the arena.
Planning for each yr.’s pilgrimage commonly starts of evolved at the conclusion of the preceding one and includes evaluating numerous applications and, if necessary, introducing steps to enhance any carrier this is deemed under par. Once plans for the next Hajj are accredited, they’re dispatched to the right government employer, which without delay sets out to put in force them. The development of these plans is reviewed via the committee at some point of the year and, as soon as in vicinity, the undertaking is inspected numerous weeks earlier than the pilgrimage starts.
A Vast Brotherhood
Performing the Hajj is the religious apex of a Muslim’s lifestyles, one that offers a clear know-how of his courting with God and his place on Earth. It imparts in a Muslim no longer simplest the assurance that he has done the 5th pillar of Islam by means of following in the footsteps of the Prophet, however additionally the conclusion that he’s part of an ummah (country) that is a couple of billion robust and spreads throughout the globe.
This feeling is delivered domestic upon the pilgrim’s arrival inside the Kingdom. Most pilgrims arrive with the aid of air, and as their planes taxi toward the astounding Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, they skip jetliners with familiar names, but also ones that endure extraordinary markings consisting of Southern China Airline and Dagestan Airlines and others from each part of the sector.
While waiting to be processed thru the arrival hall, the pilgrim starts to shed his identification as he stands amidst a sea of humans in Ihram, the 2 seamless portions of white cotton that men put on and the simple, typically white, apparel that girls put on. Here no one can inform someone’s social or economic repute, or his national beginning primarily based on the garments he wears. Suddenly the pilgrim is surely, and especially else, a Muslim, and the belief slowly units in that he is now focusing greater than ever on different human being’s faces in place of their garments. These faces constitute nearly every race or nationality on Earth. As energetic young Saudis pass the pilgrims rapidly through customs, he notices Arabs, Indians, Bosnians, Chinese, Spaniards, Africans, Laotians, French, Americans and plenty of others.
Contact with humans from such various races and nationalities over the times and weeks spent in the Kingdom engenders within the pilgrims a feel of understanding of and believe in general strangers clearly because they are acting the Hajj collectively.
Arriving in Makkah
Before heading towards Makkah, the pilgrims are already dressed in Ihram or may additionally change at Milat, in which special centers are installation for this reason. By donning the Ihram, the pilgrim enters a kingdom of spirituality and purity.
On the way from Jeddah to Makkah alongside the modern-day superhighway, pilgrims board one of the fleet of 15,000 buses assigned to the Hajj. This enormous concourse of vehicles strategies Mina, a few 4 miles to the northwest of Makkah, in which most of the pilgrims are housed inside the heaps of air-conditioned tents that reach to the limits of Mina Valley.
Walking via this large metropolis that has been mounted for use for only some days a yr, the pilgrim is struck by the orderliness of the region. Food is prepared in masses of kitchens unfold at some point of Mina and distributed the various tents. Thousands of drinking fountains and wash areas are placed for the duration of the tent town. There are masses of clinical clinics that complement the hospitals in Makkah and Arafat. Security personnel and visitors police manual and assist pilgrims. Despite the clean signs and symptoms and numbered rows, some pilgrims, specially the elderly, tend to wander away and want help finding their tents or businesses. Banks of phones are located in all of the pilgrimage web sites, allowing pilgrims to make direct worldwide calls.
The Rites of Pilgrimage
After sunrise on the ninth of the Islamic month of Dhu Al-Hajjah, this extensive crowd of nearly million starts to stroll a few 8 miles to the Plain of Arafat, passing Muzdalifah at the way. Many perform the midday and afternoon prayers at the Numeral Mosque, a culture set with the aid of the Prophet.
Approaching Arafat via midmorning, the pilgrim is amazed to discover the huge simple covered through what appears to be a thick fog, even though the temperature hovers round ninety degrees Fahrenheit. This optical illusion is created by means of hundreds of sprinklers located atop 30-foot poles and spaced a few 50 feet aside, which spread a nice mist of water to provide coolness. Millions of boxes of chilled water are allotted from refrigerated vans positioned alongside the pilgrim course.
Despite these precautions, the wail of sirens is ever gift as masses of ambulances select up pilgrims tormented by warmness exhaustion and delivery them to big clinics for treatment. The greater serious instances are evacuated by means of helicopter to hospitals.
Pilgrims are required to spend the day in the obvious, acting what is known as the Standing at Arafat. Here additionally they go to the Mount of Mercy and ask for God’s forgiveness for any sins devoted and for blessings. Facilities have additionally been installation right here to feed the pilgrims and meet any requirement they will have.
After the sun has set this river of humanity retraces its steps lower back toward Makkah, but stops at Muzdalifah till the brightness of day seems at the jap horizon. Here the pilgrims accumulate seven pebbles and convey them to Mina. As they arrive inside the valley, they trek along a two-stage pedestrian walkway a few one hundred-yards huge towards the 3 stone pillars called the Jamaat, which might be meant to represent Satan. The pilgrims are required to forged the pebbles they’ve collected on the Stone Pillar of Aqedah at the same time as praising God, in a symbolic rejection of Satan. As the pilgrims method along the walkway, they be a part of the ones already on the pillar and, after hurling their pebbles circle in the direction of the exit ramp in the course of Makkah. Signs in diverse major languages direct the crowds along the course.
The pilgrims then stroll a few four miles along pedestrian walkways to attain Makkah, where they perform the tawaf, circling the Kaaba inside the Holy Mosque seven times counter clockwise. They then perform sa’ay, the running among Safa and Marwa in an enclosed, air-conditioned structure. Male pilgrims are then required to shave their heads, even though reducing a lock of hair is suitable for each males and females. At this factor the pilgrims sacrifice an animal, donating its meat to the needy. Each yr, over 600,000 animals are sacrificed, in contemporary abattoirs that entire the processing of the meat over the three days of the Eid. Distribution of this sacrificial meat goes to the ones in need in some 30 international locations.
The rites of the pilgrimage are actually completed. Pilgrims pop out of Ihram and wear their regular garments, however continue to be at Mina for the Eid Al-Adha, the festival that indicators the culmination of the Hajj. Over the next two days, they stone the 3 pillars inside the Jamaat, earlier than performing the Tawaf Al-Wide’, the Farewell Circumambulation of the Ka’ba before their departure from the city.
While no longer required as a part of the Hajj, most pilgrims visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah all through their go to to the Kingdom.
A Spiritual Journey
Throughout the Hajj, the most important annual amassing of humans on Earth, the pilgrimage is marked with the aid of a complete absence of any disagreements or altercations a number of the pilgrims. Courtesy and helping others are the norm. Peace, serenity and piety pervade the entire pilgrimage and the pilgrims.
At the realization of the Hajj, the pilgrim has a profound feeling of having long past via a life-remodeling spiritual experience. He comes away with pleasure in having correctly achieved a ritual devoted to God and in belonging to a massive circle of relatives of humans that stocks the same religious beliefs. And he has received a experience of humility, internal calm, brotherhood and electricity that lasts a lifetime.