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  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.
Source: Invitation to Islam, Issue 1, May 1997
except that, the text was relly informative
"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"
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.
 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.
 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.
 Baca and Bakkah
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.
[Surah al-Hajj 22:37]....why is the practice of slaughtering live animals still practiced today?
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)
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.
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
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).
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.
please reply at me..
Keep up the good work. May Allah Bless Us All.
your site is very useful to see the miracleimages relevent to the islam at home.
MAKE DUVA FOR ME AND ALL
God bless you.
May god be with you and all your families.
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.
e-mail me back at [email protected]
Assalm mu alaykum
please keep it up
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.
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
the World to Come.
just in case your readers didn't know what MY
Nice and excellent. Keep on doing these kind religious activities. Zajaakallah.
be allah the mighty with us in guiding us to do good things.
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...
this article is very good! Mashallah, I felt like crying. =0) May Allah help us all to make Hajj/Umrah, Aameen!
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)
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?