Hajj Pilgrimage The world is continually changing and, in the process, wiping away some of the popular practices. Notably, the contemporary world has significantly evolved in relation with the 18th and 19th century whereby slavery was an accepted practice or most recently the place of women in many nations as inferior in comparison to their male counterparts. However, irrespective of the vast changes, religion remains a key player in most activities within the society. Importantly, diverse religions have distinctive beliefs and practices with a primary intention of retaining their identity in a continually evolving world. The focus on Islamic religion outlines a paramount and key ritual, Hajj Pilgrimage, that occurs annually and requires Muslims to carry it out at least once in their lifetime. A Focus on Rituals Rituals are crucial to the lives of different people depending on their beliefs. People from distinct ethnic and religious affiliations have rituals and practices that they follow strictly. Importantly, people carry out rituals because they appeal to them whether it is socially, mentally, or emotionally. The unique focus on rituals outlines practices which regulate social connection, performance goal states, and emotions (Hobson, Schroeder, and Risen). There has been a considerable decline in attention for rituals in the present times. Traditionally, the rites of passage were important aspects of any person’s life. However, people are consistently walking away from popular rituals. Conversely, rituals still appeal to some people and some religions. There are societies which expect change through rituals while others underline that the failure to uphold certain rituals can have dire consequences on an individual all the community in general. Rituals are extensively important in certain religions as they offer a central point from distraction and give people hope of something different and better. Notably, rituals motivate and move and can play a key role in the creation of bonds. Islamic religion holds such a ritual, the Hajj Pilgrimage which is paramount for all Muslims. Hajj Pilgrimage Hajj is one of the most critical pillars of Islam that takes place annually. It entails a spiritual encounter that is paramount for every Muslim at least once in their lifetime. Imperatively, the ritual expresses their faith and servitude towards Allah. The ceremony takes place within the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah, the sacred month which describes the last month in the Lunar calendar of Muslim. The ritual serves to carry forward the identity of Muslims all over the world and thus necessitates Muslims to take part in this spiritual ceremony. Importantly, Hajj guides Muslims towards a more fulfilling life in which they uphold key values: The ritual enlightens Muslims on the essence of practicing good deeds, upholding humility, being sincere to Allah, and maintaining peace with oneself. The Islamic religion has five key pillars and Hajj is one of these crucial pillars which is mandatory for any Muslim. The rites of Hajj are essential as they were effectively outlined by Allah in response to underlining vital events in the life of Prophet Ibrahim. The latter is a key figure as he outlines his complete submission to the expectations and the will of Allah. The Islamic religion continues to adhere to the guidelines of the ritual as it points as a decisive and crucial experience in the life of any Muslim. Crucially, there are three distinct ways of performing Hajj and thus giving the loyal servants a chance to pick one way they wish to honor the ritual: Hajj al-Ifrad Hajj al-Ifrad is a single ritual that entails solely performing Hajj and it does not oblige using a sacrificial animal. Hajj al-Ifrad entails a few stages starting with Ihram. The latter requires the pilgrim to bathe, wear the clothing of Ihram which is white, and verbally declare to perform a particular type of Hajj. Conversely, the Ihram stage prohibits a few things such as cutting or plucking the hair, wearing sewn clothes, wearing perfume, clipping nails, covering the head and engaging in sexual activities. Notably, the Ihram stage also prohibits people from getting into a marriage contract and hunting. The second stage of Hajj al-Ifrad entails performing the welcome of Sa’y and Tawaf. The event entails walking into the holy sanctuary with preferably the right foot while reciting the Talbiyah. The stage requires the people to stare at the Holy Kaaba when they first see it as it portrays the holiest structure among Muslims. It is vital to make prayers to Allah and bless the beloved prophet by proclaiming peace upon him. The second stage outlines the enactment of unique values as it requires people to be humble. Notably, Muslims have to persevere through any conditions as a unit as outlined in harsh conditions during the 2011 Hajj (Alaslani). During the preparation of Tawaf, it is critical to ensure that the upper garment of the Ihram is below the right arm and on top of the shoulder. These small details are very essential in this stage and thus the Muslims should heed to all aspects of details. This stage entails numerous practices ranging from Niyyah which entails expressing once intention to commence with the Umrah ritual and completing the performance of Tawaf and Sa’y. Consequently, the completion of this step necessitates men to clip their hair ensuring there is enough hair to shave after completion of the ritual. On the other hand, women should only clip it one or two centimeters. The latter stage serves as the completion level of the Hajj and thus people can dress in their normal clothes. Hajj al-Ifrad outlines a single ritual that dealing solely with performing the Hajj. Hajj al-Qiran In contrast with Hajj al-Ifrad, Hajj al-Qiran is a combined ritual which entails performing Umrah and Hajj jointly. It is imperative to avoid any interruptions or distractions during the ritual until a person casts the pebbles on the Eid day (Mutammati). It is obligatory to use a sacrificial animal during this type of Hajj. The performance of this type of Hajj has numerous conditions. For instance, a pilgrim living in Mecca cannot perform this ritual. The person who performs this ritual is referred by the term Qarin. The Qarin starts by getting into the state of Ihram with set intentions of performing both Umrah and Hajj. Conversely, the Qarin moves to Mecca to start the rites of Umrah. Notably, the pilgrim has to perform Tawaf al-Qudum upon arriving at Mecca. The pilgrim can perform Sa’y right after performing Tawaf or can opt to delay it and thus outlining the completion of performing Umrah. Consequently, it is vital to perform Taqsir or Halq. The outlined ritual stipulates that the Qarin will remain at the state of Ihram between Hajj and Umrah (Mutammati). The pilgrim can only move out of that state on Yawm al-Nahr. The Hajj al-Qiran stage underlines the need to observe a few prohibitions: It is vital to avoid wearing sewn clothes, plucking of hair during the ritual, clipping nails, wearing perfume, and engaging in sexual intercourse. Importantly, it is critical to enact only one Ihram for both Hajj and Umrah. Hajj al-Qiran outlines a few journeys such as going to Mina from Mecca, going from Mina to Arafat, going to Muzdalifah from Arafat, going to Mina from Muzdalifah, and ultimately performing Tawaf farewell in Mecca before commencing back home. Hajj al-Tamattu Hajj al-Tamattu outlines a unique type of Hajj whereby a pilgrim performs Umrah during Ihram. Upon completion of the Umrah, the pilgrim can take off the Ihram and reenter this state from his location in Mecca with the primary aim of performing the Hajj (Conditions of Hajj Al-Tamattu). Hajj al-Tamattu outlines five distinct conditions that a pilgrim must observe. Primarily, it is critical must have a clear intention, Niyyah, of performing Hajj before commencing on the ritual. Secondly, the individual should avoid performing a part or all of Umrah prior to the month of Shawal. Thirdly, it is paramount to perform Hajj and Umrah al-Tamattu all in one year (Conditions of Hajj Al-Tamattu). Additionally, it is critical to wear the Ihram of Hajj al-Tamattu from Mecca. Lastly, a person should perform both Hajj and Umrah if Hajj al-Tamattu is performed in proxy rather than having different people performing the former. The Essence of Hajj Hajj outlines a ritual that unites numerous Muslims and constantly reminds them of their duty to themselves, to each other, and to Allah. It is an essential ritual which entails traveling to Mecca and thus portrays years of spiritual preparation that continues to culminate (Gatrad and Sheikh 133). Hajj outlines the spiritual beliefs of the believers as it commemorates Abraham’s will to sacrifice his child, Ishmael. Therefore, it is an act of faith which aims to strengthen Muslims. Imperatively, Hajj unites Muslims and strengthens their faith in Allah. The journey to Mecca underlines numerous health risks. However, Muslims still persevere through the Hajj as they understand the importance of completing the ritual. Consequently, Hajj serves as an outline of Islamic identity. The continuous development in the contemporary world has stimulated a lot of changes in customs and traditional practices. Material culture has managed to alter the Islamic identity on numerous fronts and thus necessitating some practices to retain the image of Islam (Malik 76). Therefore, the completion of Hajj serves to show that Islam is still relevant and true in a continually evolving universe. Hajj is an important ritual that reminds people of the essence of their religion and takes them back in time to when Abraham was requested to sacrifice his son. Conclusively, the Hajj outlines one key ritual that Muslims still embrace and respect. Notably, rituals hold a lot of meaning to people and thus their continuous performance serves to increase their essence. Islamic religion celebrates a ritual that prioritizes values in today’s world and gives people hope for a good life. Moreover, Hajj underlines the strength of the Islamic religion as it remains relevant in a world where numerous practices have been wiped off by time. Works Cited Alaslani, Turki. “Outbreak of Foodborne Disease in Hajj Camp During Hajj Season 2017.” 2018, doi:10.2196/preprints.10577.a. “Conditions of Hajj Al-Tamattu’.” Al, 18 Apr. 2014, www.al-islam.org/rites-hajj-practical-treatise-and-rules-nasir-makarim-shirazi/conditions-hajj-al-tamattu. Gatrad, Abdul Rashid, and Aziz Sheikh. “Hajj: Journey of a Lifetime.” Bmj, vol. 330, no. 7483, 2005, pp. 133–137., doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7483.133. Hobson, Nicholas M, et al. “The Psychology of Rituals: An Integrative Review and Process-Based Framework.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2017, doi:10.2139/ssrn.2944235. Malik, Saira. “Countering the Sharī‘a: How Material Culture Constructs A Narrative of an ‘Islamic’ Identity That Counters the Sharī‘a .” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017, pp. 76–99. Mutamatti. “Hajj Al-Qiran.” Hajj & Umrah Planner, 18 Apr. 2017, hajjumrahplanner.com/hajj-al-qiran/. ~~~For this or similar assignment papers~~~