Hajj is the sacred pilgrimage performed by Muslims at the holy mosque of Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, which means that it is obliged of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime (so long as they have the means). Hajj takes place during the same period each year – during the month of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth month in the Islamic Calendar. Hajj begins on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah and lasts until the 13th of Dhul Hijjah.
This year, Hajj is taking place between 26th June to the 1st July 2023 in the Gregorian Calendar.
The Islamic calendar operates on the lunar cycle, which is why it appears to shift forward approximately 11-12 days each year as it corresponds to the Gregorian calendar.
As Muslims, undertaking Hajj in Islam – is a spiritual duty, as long as we are financially, physically, and emotionally able to do so.
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) commands Muslims to take this sacred journey:
You will enter the Sacred Masjid, God willing, perfectly secure, and you will cut your hair or shorten it (as you fulfil the pilgrimage rituals) there. You will not have any fear. Since He knew what you did not know, He has coupled this with an immediate victory.
Qur’an | 48:27
While it is only required of Muslims to perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetimes, it can be performed multiple times.
How Long Does Hajj Last?
The Hajj pilgrimage is performed over five to six days, from the 8th to 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah. When the new crescent moon is sighted, Eid al-Adha begins, which lasts for four days.
The pilgrimage is comprised of a series of rites and rituals, some of which must be performed in order. It can be physically demanding, as pilgrims are required to travel between locations throughout, and can walk on average between 5km-15km per day. Performing Hajj is a test of patience and temperament – it is a spiritual, emotional, and physical challenge, it can take some preparation and for many, it is a once in a lifetime event.
However, it offers Muslims the opportunity to refresh their spiritual selves, to cleanse them of their sins and draw closer to Allah (SWT).
You can access everything you need to know about Hajj and what it entails here.
Does Hajj Occur On The Same Dates Every Year?
Yes, Hajj takes place between the same dates each year. Hajj takes place between the 8th and the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah each year, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Dhul Hijjah is the twelfth month in the Islamic calendar and holds some of the most sacred periods of the entire Islamic calendar. Dates in the Islamic calendar appear to shift forward approximately 11-12 days as it corresponds to the Gregorian calendar, as the Islamic Calendar operates on the lunar cycle.
Hajj consists of its own unique rites and rituals but does share some similarities with the rites and rituals of Umrah. Umrah is a voluntary pilgrimage, which can be performed during any time of the year.
Where Does The Hajj Take Place?
Hajj is performed in Makkah, modern day Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage consists of a series of rites and rituals across five to six days and is performed across several locations within the vicinity of Makkah.
These locations include:
- The city of Makkah
- The tent settlement of Mina
- Mount ‘Arafah
Who Is Excluded From Hajj?
It is required of every Muslim to perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime. However, the Hajj is not intended as a burden upon Muslims, and Muslims are only required to perform Hajj so long as it is within their capacity.
Those who are exempt from Hajj are the following:
- Firstly, only Muslim adults (whether male or female) are required to perform Hajj. This means that while children may go to Hajj, it is not required of them.
- Secondly, the very weak, sick, elderly, or otherwise physically incapable Muslims are exempt from having to perform the pilgrimage.
- Thirdly, the Muslim must be financially able to perform Hajj. However, if one is in debt, they may still perform Hajj as long as:
- The creditor permits it
- The debtor has time to pay off the debt
- Hajj does not affect their ability to pay off the debt