The present pattern of Hajj was established by Muhammad. However, according to the Quran, elements of Hajj trace back to the time of Abraham, around 2000 BCE. According to Islamic tradition, Abraham was ordered by God to leave his wife Hagar (Hagar) and his son Ishmael alone in the desert of ancient Mecca. In search of water, Hagar desperately ran seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah but found none. Returning in despair to Ishmael, she saw the baby scratching the ground with his leg and a water fountain sprang forth underneath his foot. Later, Abraham was commanded to build Kaaba (which he did with the help of Ishmael) and to invite people to perform pilgrimage there. The Quran refers to these incidents in verses and.[n 1] It is said that the archangel Gabriel brought the Black Stone from Heaven to be attached to Kaaba.
In pre-Islamic Arabia, a time known as jahiliyyah, Kaaba became surrounded by pagan idols. In 630 CE, Muhammad led his followers from Medina to Mecca, cleansed the Kaaba by destroying all the pagan idols, and then reconsecrated the building to Allah. In 632 CE, Muhammad performed his only and last pilgrimage with a large number of followers, and instructed them on the rites of Hajj. It was from this point that Hajj became one of the five pillars of Islam.
During the medieval times, pilgrims would gather in big cities of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq to go to Mecca in groups and caravans comprising tens of thousands of pilgrims, often under state patronage. Hajj caravans, particularly with the advent of the Mamluk Sultanate and its successor, the Ottoman Empire, were escorted by a military force accompanied by physicians under the command of an amir al-hajj. This was done in order to protect the caravan from Bedouin robbers or natural hazards,[n 2] and to ensure that the pilgrims were supplied with the necessary provisions. Muslim travelers like Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Battuta have recorded detailed accounts of Hajj-travels of medieval time. The caravans followed well-established routes called in Arabicdarb al-hajj, lit. "pilgrimage road", which usually followed ancient routes such as the King's Highway.
Timing of Hajj
The date of Hajj is determined by Islamic calendar (known as Hijri calendar or AH), which is a lunar year. Every year, the events of Hajj take place in a five-day period, starting on 8 and ending on 12 Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth and last month of the Islamic calendar. Among these five days, the 9th Dhul-Hijjah is known as Day of Arafah, and this day is called the day of Hajj. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date for Hajj changes from year to year. Thus, each year in the Gregorian calendar, the pilgrimage starts eleven days (sometimes ten days) earlier than the preceding year. This makes it possible for the Hajj season to fall twice in one Gregorian year, and it does so every 33 years. The last time this phenomenon occurred was 2006. The table below shows the Gregorian dates of Hajj of recent years (the dates correspond to 9 Dhul-Hijjah of Hijri calendar):
|5 November||25 October||14 October||3 October|
The approximate date for the next Hajj pilgrimage (1436 AH) is 22 September 2015.