Muslims from every corner of the world are today performing Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam. Hajj involves physical, financial, mental and spiritual aspects of worship. It is the world’s largest gathering of people, invoking God’s Mercy.
Hajj consists of a combination of spiritual and physical endurances. But the physical exertion is often dwarfed by the emotional challenges posed by leaving behind one’s family and loved ones, travelling across the world, and undertaking an act of worship designed to purify the soul, reconnect with the Lord and embrace humanity.
Hajj is an epic human journey, a great assertion of faith, community and ordinary people’s courage. It is also an extremely challenging experience: walking in blazing heat, finding a “perfect spot” for prayer when hundreds of thousands are also doing the same, queuing up for food and amenities. The Hajj journey a real test of patience and self-control, humbleness, and brotherhood – a real school for applied social ethics! Despite physical and emotional challenges, every year, we see people weeping with joy and sorrow, praying through the night, emerging spiritually renewed and revitalised and achieving a sense of peace and harmony.
The spiritual pinnacle of the Hajj is the Day of Arafat when millions of people shed tears as they pray for God’s forgiveness. The diversity of the people – from blonde Europeans to West Africans, elderly Indians to Indonesian babies – all chanting the mantra of the Hajj: “O God, here I am here to answer Your call”, is simply an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience.
Empathising with others is one of the keys aspects of Hajj. Pilgrims, irrespective of background, skin colour, social class and age, cover themselves in the prescribed two plain pieces of white cloth which they are required to don for the event in a symbol of uniformity and equality.
During the Hajj journey there is such a beautiful sense of Islam in its truest and simplest form. Seeing everyone strive for individual purification as well as working towards collective betterment for all has a profound effect on each Hajji and makes Hajj a life-changing experience for everyone involved .