Short History of Hajj

Category: Articles, Faith, Featured | Topic: hajj, history, kaba, prophet ibrahim | Views: 157,007

Hajj literally means ‘to set out for a place’. Islamically however it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad .

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of the Prophet lbrahim [Abraham] and he was the one who was entrusted by Allah to build the Kaba – the House of Allah – along with his son Ismail [Ishmael] at Makkah. Allah described the Kaba and its building as follows:

“And remember when We showed Ibrahim the site of the [Sacred] House [saying]: Associate not anything [in worship with Me and purify My House for those who circumambulate it [i.e. perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration [in prayer etc.].”
[Surah Al-Hajj 22:26]

After building the Kaba, Prophet Ibrahim would come to Makkah to perform Hajj every year, and after his death, this practice was continued by his son. However, gradually with the passage of time, both the form and the goal of the Hajj rites were changed. As idolatry spread throughout Arabia, the Kaba lost its purity and idols were placed inside it. Its walls became covered with poems and paintings, including one of Jesus and his mother Maryam and eventually over 360 idols came to be placed around the Kaba.

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 talbiah [1] 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 and tell exaggerated tales of the cowardice and miserliness of other tribes. Competitions in generosity were also staged where the chief of each tribe would set up huge cauldrons and feed the pilgrims, only so that they could become well-known for their extreme generosity.

Thus the people had totally abandoned the teachings of their forefather and leader Prophet Ibrahim. The House that he had made pure for the worship of Allah alone, had been totally desecrated by the pagans and the rites which he had established were completely distorted by them. This sad state of affairs continued for nearly two and a half thousand years. But then after this long period, the time came for the supplication of Prophet Ibrahim to be answered:

“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them your aayaat (verses) and instruct them in the book and the Wisdom and sanctify them. Verily you are the ‘Azeezul-Hakeem [the All-Mighty, the All-Wise].”
[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:129]



Sure enough, a man by the name of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullaah was born in the very city that Prophet Ibrahim had made this supplication centuries earlier. For twenty-three years, Prophet Muhammad spread the message of Tawheed [true monotheism] – the same message that Prophet Ibrahim and all the other Prophets came with – and established the law of Allah upon the land. He expended every effort into making the word of Allah supreme and his victory over falsehood culminated in the smashing of the idols inside the Kaba which once again became the universal center for the worshippers of the one True God.

Not only did the Prophet rid the Kaba of all its impurities, but he also reinstated all the rites of Hajj which were established by Allah’s Permission, in the time of Prophet Ibrahim. Specific injunctions in the Quran were revealed in order to eliminate all the false rites which had become rampant in the pre-Islamic period. All indecent and shameful acts were strictly banned in Allah’s statement:

“There is to be no lewdness nor wrangles during Hajj.”
[Surah al-Baqarah 2:197]

Competitions among poets in the exaltations of their forefathers and their tribesmen’s achievements were all stopped. Instead, Allah told them:

“And when you have completed your rites [of Hajj] then remember Allah as you remember your forefathers; nay with a more vigorous remembrance.”
[Surah al-Baqarah 2:200]

Competitions in generosity were also prohibited. Of course, the feeding of the poor pilgrims was still encouraged as this was done during the time of Prophet Ibrahim but Allah commanded that the slaughtering of the animals which was done for this purpose should be done seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than fame and the praise of the people. He said:

“So mention the name of Allah over these animals when they are drawn up in lines. Then, when they are drawn on their sides [after the slaughter], eat thereof and feed the beggar who does not ask, and the beggar who asks.”
[Surah al-Hajj 22:36]

As for the deplorable practice of spattering blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of the Kaba and hanging their flesh on alters, then Allah clearly informed them that:

“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwaa (piety) from you that reaches Him.”
[Surah al-Hajj 22:37]

The Prophet also put a stop to the practice of circling the Kaba in a state of nudity and the argument that the pagans put forward to justify this ritual was sharply rebutted in Allah’s question:

“Say: Who has forbidden the adornment [i.e. clothes] given by Allah which He has produced for His Slaves?”
[Surah al-A’raaf 7:32]



Another custom which was prohibited through the Quran was that of setting off for Hajj without taking any provisions for the journey. In the pre-Islamic period, some people who claimed to be mutawakkiloon (those having complete trust in Allah) would travel to perform Hajj begging for food through the whole journey. They considered this form of behavior a sign of piety and an indication of how much faith they had in Allah. However Allah told mankind that to have sufficient provisions for the journey was one of the preconditions for making Hajj. He said:

“And take a provision [with you] for the journey, but the best provision is at-Taqwaa (piety).”
[Surah al-Baqarah 2:197]

In this way, all the pre-Islamic practices, which were based on ignorance, were abolished and Hajj was once more made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity and austerity. Now, when the pilgrims reach the Kaba, they no longer find the carnivals and the frolic and frivolity that had once occupied the minds of the pilgrims there before. Now, there is the remembrance of Allah at every step and every action and every sacrifice was devoted to Him alone. It was this kind of Hajj that was worthy of the reward of paradise, as the Prophet said: “The reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing less than paradise.”

May Allah grant us all the ability to visit His House and perform the Hajj in the manner of the Prophet Muhammad . Aameen.


1 Labbaik Allahumma labbaik… (Here I am present, O’ God, I am present…) This is the chant which the pilgrims say when they are traveling for pilgrimage.

Source: Invitation to Islam, Issue 1, May 1997


Leave a Reply


  1. Allahu Akbar.As hajj is fourth pillars of islam after believe in Allah and His prophet. 2. As salat, As zakat, As sawn, hajj. And this hajj is not by force is for those have ability and money that for hajj but a good muslim must hajj must be in his or her agender.

  2. If Allah has given somebody wealth he/she should try to perform Qurbani on behalf of Rasulullah his companions,the Prophets his own relatives living and deceased.It is reported in Tabrani quoted by Abu Talha Rasulullah (S.A.W) sacrificed one ram while sacrificing the other he said”This is on behalf of everyone of my Ummah who believed in me and testified (my prophethood).So therefore Rasulullah had done favour to the Ummah we should do the same to him by sacrificing on his behalf,the Prophets and the Sahaba.

  3. The names “Baca” and “Bakkah” are almost identical. If Bakkah is Mecca, then in accordance with Muslim beliefs that Mecca is God’s select city. Also, in the Biblical Book of Isaiah, several passages provide descriptions of Zion, several of which, notably Isaiah 35:8-10, which states that the “unclean” will not enter the city, and 60:16-18, which describes its prosperity, bear striking resemblance to Mecca in Muslim eyes. Jews and Christians, who do not equate holiness with Islam, do not agree with this interpretation.

    “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. (From the NIV Bible, Psalms 84:5-6)”

    “The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings: In it are signs manifest; (for example) the Station of Abraham; whoever enters it attains security; pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith Allah stands not in need of any of his creatures. (The Noble Quran, 3:96-97)”

    Some Bible versions say “Valley of Tears/ Weeping”, this would make more sense since Ishmael and Hagar cried (baka’) to God for aid in the wilderness after Abraham left them in a deserted area. In Hebrew ‘tears’ is Baka’ and in Arabic Baka’ means to cry.

    Another worthy note to look into is that many places named in the Bible are not necessarily found/ match or proven historically.

    “they make it a place of springs;”

    “the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”

    The great well Zamzam it’s actually a spring that sprang at the time of Ishmael and Hagar by an Angel after Hagar had ‘cried’ to God for aid.

    “The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert;

    it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.–Genesis 16:7″


    Surah 3:96-97

    Behold, the first Temple ever set up for mankind was indeed the one at Bakkah: rich in blessing, and a [source of] guidance unto all the worlds., Full of clear messages. [It is] the place whereon Abraham once stood; and whoever enters it finds peace. Hence, pilgrimage unto the Temple is a duty owed to God by all people who are able to undertake it. And as for those who deny the truth – verily, God does not stand in need of anything in all the worlds.

    [edit] Arguments for the identification of Bakkah with Mecca

    Bakkah is thought to be an older name for Mecca, as it is described as the location of the first mosque, which Islam teaches to be the Kaaba, and a home to Abraham, who, according to the Qur’an, built the Kabba with his son Ishmael. Many translations simply render Bakkah as Mecca, and the passage is cryptic if they are not the same city.

    [edit] Arguments against the identification of Bakkah with Mecca

    However, the name Bacca or Bakka is known by all Arabs as another name for Makka, it is not known or used anywhere else.

    [edit] Baca and Bakkah

    Psalm 84:5-7

    Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

    As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

    They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

  5. SINCE i have made nayyah to perform hajj this yr inshallah i must say this article was of great help 2me in better understanding of hajj.i pray that we muslims from all nations around the world stand as one power n send message of peace to all mankind as has been taught by our religion.

  6. Assl alkm, please I have some questions to ask. When was hajj made obligatory? What were the circumstances to which the pilgrimage verse(3:97) was revealed? I appreciate your contributions towards Allah’s cause. May He reward you abundantly. Please try and acknowledge your sources for referencing purposes.

  7. if Allah has stated that “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwaa (piety) from you that reaches Him.”

    [Surah al-Hajj 22:37]….why is the practice of slaughtering live animals still practiced today?

  8. Indeed,by grace of almighty God thist is an other season for the muslims to erase and wash their sins. Actually tomorrow is the most hapiest day for the muslims. I appeal to all muslims to pray for the unity and btotherhood among themselves. I also praly to God to accept all the prayer. :O: my God send down upon us patience and make firm our steps and help us against non believers. Ameen.

  9. Hi, I just have one doubt came to my mind.. would like to clear that.. Why Prophet Isa (Alai Salam) never went to Makkah for performing Hajj? Did he ever visited Makkah?

  10. Assalamu alaikum Muslim Brother and Sisters.

    I may like to express my sincere appreciation to the workers of islamicity web for trying to bring the faith Back to any Muslim Brothers and sisters. This is another opportunity for a Muslims to learn in their home and achieve the best of islamic web. I am a Member of many Islamic website but i am very glad with Islamicy.

    May Allah (SWT) Bless you and this Website including we people that are using our time to read and achieve the great knowledge of the Truth Religion (Islam)

    I am Musa Abubakar Abdallah Jos (Nigeria)


  11. Your story has a error, the men and women

    didn’t perform Hajj naked they had on Roman

    clothing for men and women wore long type dress

    covering their hair in protection to the sun, sand.

  12. Assalamualaikum and Good day to all

    For those who are not a muslim,

    Friends, this artical is just a brief about what is Haj. If you look more deeper on Haj – its more beautyfull. Just imigine, 3 millions people get together in the name of One God

  13. Assalamu alaikum,

    This is to show my Appreciation toward this article.

    from this article i learn so many things about Hajj which i was ignorant to before, thank you Islamicity.

    May Allah in infinity Bless continieu to bless us all (Amin).

  14. I am a Primary school teacher, and as part of the national curriculum, I need to teach the children various aspects of the Islamic faith. I have found both images and text to be easily accessible and understood by those, who have very little knowledge of the faith. By reading this I feel better informed to teach this subject to the children Thank you.

  15. hello,

    I am a student of Arabic major, and i am collecting iformations about hajj…i would like to ask anybody’s help who can help me related to this topic.


  16. hi.. i am studying in uk, and i am required by my lecturer at my university to write an assingment about how islam can effect me while living in uk. Therefore, i was wondering if u can help me. How can uk effect me upon going to haj.

    please reply at me..



  17. Salam alaikom. This is very good specially for us Balik-Islam. In which it gives more information about Islam.

    Keep up the good work. May Allah Bless Us All.

  18. Assalaamu alaikum. I was expecting from the when exactly the hajj began, whether it precedes the Eid al adha or not, and how it has been celebrated throughout history. But I find is a pre-history of the hajj. Wassalaam.

  19. I am just writing to say thank you for providing this site, at school i took full course Re and Islam is one of the main Religions i am studing. I have to do a piece of cousework on Hajj, so i have now got loads of info.

    Thanks Again


  20. Iam really very thankful to you for giving a worthful information about Hajj.allah may reward you best both in this life and in life after death.

  21. I’m a school teacher in the UK and have found your website to be extremely valuable. In my class we are learning about Hajj and if you could send any more information it would be grately appreciated. Many thanks, VK Beesley

  22. Thank you Charles. May God bless you and your family also. As a brother in humanity, and in conviction of the truth of the Prophet Muhammad and the truth of the message he brought, I ask you , my dear brother Charles, to testify to the Oneness of God, He has no associates or equals, or family members, and He is beyond what our finite minds may attempt to understand of His being; and I ask you also Charles to testify to the truth of the messengership or prophethood of Muhammad, and I ask you my brother, please join us in hajj. We look forward to your coming.

    God bless you.




  24. Salaam, I am writing about the “hajj” in a school project and I am looking for people that has been on the pilgrim journey and it would be great if you people could e-mail me a short mail aboyt your experience of being to the “hajj”. I would really apriciate it, Amina.

  25. I will be one of the many pilots taking you to your place of worship this year and wish you all a happy and enlightening pilgrimage to Makkah. I only wish I could experience it with you and offer my blessings for a peaceful world.

    May god be with you and all your families.

  26. Last month I was blessed with the opportuinty to

    go to Saudi Arabia for Umrah,there I met a family

    of Bangladesh who they had a 7 years old son,who

    had been born with a abnormality on his face,which

    then I found out that is called Cleft Pallet and

    he couldn’t talk and eat and so couldn’t go to school so I decided to help them because they’re

    very poor and they live in Mecca.Inshallah I’m going to talk to different charities to bring him

    here for surgery or maybe to send money for a Doctor to have a surgery on him in Saudi.the family were very happy and I have been praying to

    be able to do this big job as soon as possible

    Please you pray for me too.

  27. this website is really good for finding out relevent information for the Islamic belief particually the step by step window.KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK IslamiCity!

  28. assalm mu alaykum my name is Shopna and i don’t like it coz my mosequa teacher said it’s an indian name. so i want to change it to an muslim name please can u help me to find a nice muslim name.

    Tahnk you

    e-mail me back at

    Assalm mu alaykum

  29. This website is really really good at the moment iam doing a project on the Hajj and thanks to you i have been able to this homework really easy because of all the great information in this site. Thank You again

  30. I really like this site and keep up the good work you guys are doing good job in putting so much effort in it. It really help younger muslim gerantion to learn about islam. I am a student and live in u.s.a and here it is really heard to learn something but if we find these kind of site wich help us to learn and now about the past. it’s all thanks to you guys to put so much effort to teach us something. I wish you the best and allah be always with you for doing the right work (ahmeen)

  31. i agree with jess when she sed that it is horrible to make a person think that you would do a short summary on sumfink wich oviously isn’t! it’s crazy and stupid!

  32. When you told me that you were going to give me a short story. I clicked on it and Baam it was the longest story I have ever heard call a short story. I reccommend not lying to your readers if you ever want me to come back to this site>


  33. If Muslim, Jewish & Christian religions have Abraham as the father of their faith, where did things diverge? There must be common historical records. Also, it seems unlikely that the Prophet Mohomad wrote the Quaran without any other wrightings or manuscripts as reference. Does anyone know what writings he may have used? As it was about 2000yrs between Abraham and Mohomad, there must have been some other records.

    Please excuse my mispellings, it is late at night. If anyone truly knows the Quran and can offer historical prospectives, feel free to email me.

  34. Thank you very much for posting this article. As a Christian, I was struck with the similarity of piety surrounding Hajj and that of Jesus of Nazareth in Matthew 6:1-18. Acts of piety are to be done for the Divine not for the praise of people.

  35. Paul,

    using the bible as a fact to back up your claim is hardly the way to start an arguement. First of all the bible NEVER once claims that all the books are the word of God and even if it di it would only be in reference to a collection of a few books not the entire thing, since “the” bible wasn’t a unified document until well after the 4th century. Only slightly before the rise of Islam. I find it humorous that you expect us to accept arguements from the bible when you won’t even read the Quran with an open mind. Really.

    As to your claim of Abrahams origins most analytical scholars agree that the reference of Abraham being from “Northern Mesopetamia” and couldn’t go to “southern Saudi Arabis” first it isn’t southern saudi, rather middle. Second He went to Egypt, so you are already not even quoting the bible correctly. Third since the Torah was passed down in Oral tradition over a thousand years before being written down, isn’t it plausable that maybe what once said “Abraham went to Sacrifice his only son” might have been changed in a thousand years to say “Isaac his oldest son” since the Hebrews believed they descended from him, so he would of course seem more important?


    Most scholars agree that the comment of northern mesopatamia is simply a change during the Babylonian captivity in order to reflect the Jewish peoples origins in a place familiar to the readers and the writers.

    Fifth, Abraham lived a long life and obviously traveled a lot. So who is to say he didn’t build the Kaaba, after all he’s only in about 20 pages of the bible, and those are not exclusively about him.

    Sixth. to say he didn’t worship “Allah” is silly. Allah, or Al-Ilah with a normal vowel allision common in linguistics means literally “The God” implying that there is no other. A similar philosophy to Yahweh which means “He who is” or “I who am”, meaning the only one that exists. It is clear that Muslims Worship the same God of the bible even if you are to blind

  36. It’s a good source of information, though innumerable people know about the Hajj, but few are aware that this tradition dates back to the times of Prophet Ibrahim, Ihope such documents go on to illuminate people about the History of Islam, right upto Prophet Adam.

  37. The prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael never went to Meccah let alone make it an annual thing. Also Abraham never built the Kaba nor did he speak to Allah as he was not a muslim. Now you may ask me how i know this. And i would say Abraham lived in northern Mesopotamia and Mecca is in Southern Saudi Arabia hence how could Abraham have gone there every year when he needed to make a living and to eat especially not when he had another younger son of a different mother. Also Ishamel left at a young age with his mother because Abraham asked her to leave and Abraham never saw Ishmael again. Also Abraham was first mentioned in the Old Testament or Jewish Bible and in it, it describes how Abraham’s son Isaac is Gods chosen son as he was taken to be killed but spared in the last moment by God.

  38. The righteous, of any faith, will be rewarded in

    the World to Come.

      —   Talmud

    just in case your readers didn’t know what MY

    faith believes

  39. I think that Hadj enables us to purify ourselves from all the sins we have committed in the past. After Hadj there should be another life: we must change our habits, way of living and treatments towards others,certaintely to a positive manners.Otherwise, we cannot call this deed as HADJ.

    be allah the mighty with us in guiding us to do good things.

  40. does a somewhat biography of the Hajj/ Kaaba exist? i have also found the pictures of the Mecca area very interesting. i saw them in what seemed to be the first days, and it went to be the middle days, and then to the modern times oftoday. it was like an architects rendering of past to present. besides finding a somewhat biography on the House of Allah, i would like to find the renderings also. may Allah bless you for your efforts


  42. Assalam-o-aleykum..

    Please correct me if I am wrong..I thought Hajj is performed in memory of Prophet Ibrahim’s ultimate sacrifice of his son Ismael..he saw in a dream that he is sacrificing him,,so he asked Ismael what does he think about it…without question he agreed…and when he was about to sacrifice him Allah(SWT)replaced Ismael with a goat or sheep….Then Allah(SWT) said to Ibrahim you are Truely my obedient servant…as a reward for you…I will make all mankind to remember you and your sacrifice…till the day of judgement,,,,So it was commanded to all muslim to remember the ultimate sacrifice of Ibrahim P.B.U.H

    Please correct me if I am wrong….thank you…

  43. I would like to say tht this short story about Hajj wuz great,if a nonmuslim reads this story he or she would understand the real meaning of what Hajj is and would also realize tht how wrong they were about not understanding the MUSLIMS

  44. It goes without saying that the article is written in a very simple and easy to understand manner. It provides a means to learn about the history of kaba and Hajj for muslims and non-muslims both. May Allah bestow His mercies on the author and reward him with the best of rewards, ameen.

  45. I aam very happy to cmmet to day, as beaing Muslim

    every muslim want to happy Almighty Aallah.

    I shall be pray from Almighty Allah to give corrage to adoubt the prseious prinicple of Islam, and submit to human of all over the world(Amine) & our relegious to progress day&night.

    As beaing Muslim it is our duty to interdoused the islamic investment&banking systum all over the islamic world.

    In the last i shall pray from almighty Allah to unity in the islamic ummah which the teaching of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him (Amine)

  46. Oh Allah Almighty I beg you to grant an acceptable Hajj to all those who wish to undertake it, and to ease their burden and that of our Ummah; thou art Most Responsive, Most Able.


  47. Assalamu alaikum,

    I have gain more insight on the Quranic verses you qouted. May Allah reward you abundantly. It appears the Hajj has some socio-economic aspects. Any political? If yes, how can we Muslim utilised it to improve our condition and that of humanity?