When is Hajj 2024?

  Dhul Hijjah     News

Hajj is the sacred pilgrimage Muslims perform at the holy mosque of Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It takes place during Dhul Hijjah, which is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic (Hijri) Calendar.

The beginning of Hajj starts on the starts the 8th of Dhul Hijjah. It then ends on the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah, depending on the sighting of the moon. In 2024, this period is expected to fall between Friday, June 14, 2024, to Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

What is Hajj?

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahada (profession of faith), Salah (prayer), Zakat (almsgiving) and Sawm (fasting).

As such, undertaking Hajj holds great importance in Islam. It is a spiritual duty. Every Muslim is required to perform it at least once in their lifetime, so long as they have the means. This includes being not only financially able, but also physically and emotionally.

The Significance of Hajj 

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 

Hajj also occurs in Dhul Hijjah during its first ten days, one of the most sacred periods of the entire Islamic calendar.  

As such, performing the pilgrimage offers Muslims the opportunity to refresh their spiritual selves. To cleanse themselves of their sins and draw closer to Allah (SWT). 

How Long Does Hajj Last? 

The pilgrimage is performed over five to six days, from the 8th to the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah. The Day of Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah) and Eid Al-Adha (10th Dhul Hijjah) also fall between these days.  

The pilgrimage includes 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. On average, one can expect to walk between 5km to 15km per day.  

During Hajj, which takes place in Dhul Hijjah, Muslims travel to Masjid al-Haram in Makkah

Performing Hajj is a test of patience and temperament. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical challenge and can take some preparation. That is why, for many, it is often a once-in-a-lifetime event. 

When Does Hajj Occur?

Hajj takes place between the 8th and the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah each Islamic year, depending on the sighting of the moon.

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.

This year, the Hajj period is expected to fall between Friday, June 14, 2024, to Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

While Muslims are only required to perform Hajj at least once in their lifetimes, it can be performed multiple times, so long as they fall within the set dates. You can also perform Umrah, a voluntary pilgrimage to Makkah taken at any time of the year.

Where Does Hajj Take Place?

Hajj is performed in Makkah (also referred to as Mecca) in 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
  • Muzdalifah

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. Muslims are only required to perform Hajj so long as it is within their capacity. 

Those who are exempt from Hajj are the following: 

  • Children. While they may go to Hajj, only Muslim adults (male or female) are required to perform Hajj. 
  • Very weak, sick, elderly, or otherwise physically incapable Muslims. 
  • Muslims who are financially unable to perform Hajj. However, if one is in debt, they may still perform Hajj if the person they owe money to permits it, they have time to pay off the debt and Hajj does not affect their ability to pay it.  

Brief History of Hajj 

In 628 CE, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and the early Muslims embarked on the first Islamic Pilgrimage (Hajj), re-establishing the traditions started by the Prophet Ibrahim (AS), who first began the tradition of Hajj millennia before. 

The Story of Hajar (AS) and Ismail (AS)  

The story of Hajj begins with Prophet Ibrahim (AS) receiving a commandment from Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) orders Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to travel to the barren desert of Makkah and leave his wife Hajar and infant son Ismail (AS). Despite the trials ahead, the family trusted in the Divine Wisdom of Allah (SWT) and set out to follow His commandment.

While in the desert, Hajar (AS) and Ismail (AS) quickly ran out of resources. In a desperate effort to find water, Hajar (AS) ran between the two neighbouring hills of Safa and Marwa in search of someone who could help or nearby water. She did this seven times, only to return to a crying Ismail (AS) empty-handed. 

As the infant Ismail (AS) cried, he struck the ground with his leg and a stream of water burst forth at the commandment of Allah (SWT). This stream of water relieved the mother and son of their thirst and became a resource with which they traded for provisions of all kinds with travelling merchants. This stream of water is known today as the Well of Zam Zam. 

Years later, Allah (SWT) commanded Ibrahim (AS) to return to his family, where he found the miracle of his family alive and indeed thriving. A barren desert that had started with only Hajar and Ismail (AS) was now transforming into a thriving settlement that would become known as Makkah. 

Allah (SWT) then instructed Ibrahim (AS) to mark the space for a stone structure. This would be known as the Kaaba, which Ibrahim (AS) built with his son Ismail (AS).  

The Significance of the Kaaba and Masjid al-Haram

The space surrounding the Kaaba was created for worshippers of the one God to gather. In fact, the Kaaba simply marks the spot where Muslims unite. It is not something that is worshipped, as idolatry is prohibited in Islam. 

Over time, the Kaaba would be taken over by pagan Arabs, who filled it with idols. However, thousands of years later, when the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was given revelation and the final message of Tawheed (monotheism), he was instructed to reinstate Ibrahim’s (AS) sacred tradition – the sacred pilgrimage we know as Hajj today. 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

  • What does Hajj mean?

    The word Hajj, in Arabic, means ‘to intend a journey’. 

  • How many days is Hajj?

    The pilgrimage is performed over five to six days, from the 8th to the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah. The Day of Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah) and Eid Al-Adha (10th Dhul Hijjah) also fall between these days. 

  • Who is excused from Hajj?

    Those excused from Hajj are children (however, they can accompany their parents) the very weak, sick, elderly, or otherwise physically incapable and those who would be financially burdened if they make the pilgrimage.