Pilgrimage to Haj is the fifth obligatory pillar of Islam, provided the pilgrim –male or female is physically and financially sound. There are some prerequisites that a Muslim needs to adhere to before embarking for Haj. Apart from being a Muslim the pilgrim has to be free, be an adult, possess a sound mind, able to afford the journey and able to maintain dependents back home during the journey period. The reward for Haj is nothing less than Paradise.
The first step for any pilgrim wishing to perform Haj is to enter in a state of Ihram, believed to be a special state of spiritual purity which prohibits many acts such as cutting of hair, nails, killing animals, uprooting plants or trees not sown by pilgrims in the boundary of the grand mosque. Men must put on a two piece cloth of white and unsown outfit.don a distinctive outfit consisting of two pieces of white, unsown, cloth. One of the pieces is wrapped around his midriff to cover his lower body, while the other is draped around his shoulders. Women must cover their bodies in a loose fitting outfit and cover their hair. However, they are not permitted to cover their faces
The rites of Haj are the mirror to those performed during the time of Prophet Ibrahim A.S. who built the Ka'bah. These are observed for a period of five or six days, which begins on the eighth day of the last month of the year Dhul-Hijjah (pilgrimage). You have to circumambulate the Ka'bah 7 times (Tawaf), and go between the mountains of Safa and Marwah, which should be the reflection of Biwi Hajara(Ibrahim A.S.wife) search for water to quench the thirst of her son Isma'il. Then you have to stand on the wide plain of Arafah along with other pilgrims and join in prayers, asking for Allah’s forgiveness, which can be termed as a preview of the Last Judgment. The next obligation is to cast stones on the stone pillar, representing Satan. The pilgrimage culminates with the celebration of Eid Al-Adha by praying and then sacrificing a goat or camel and then exchange greetings