Haj is a few days away, and millions of Muslims from all over the world have left for perform the pilgrimage. Haj, literally means, ‘to set out for a higher destination’. Muslims believe that Adam, built the Kaaba at Mecca, and it was later rebuilt by Prophet. Making the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if physically and financially able, is one of the five pillars of Islam. In the old days, it took most people several months of travel by land and sea to reach Mecca. The journey was long and difficult, many would never return to their lands. In a sense when they left for Hajj, they were prepared to die. Haj, has always been seen as a kind of spiritual death, for it is a meeting with God.
The two unstitched pieces of white cloth that men wear during the Haj, strips them of clothes that could reveal worldly status. This ihram, that male pilgrims wear resembles the shroud used to wrap a body before it is lowered into a grave. This serves as reminder of death and the afterlife.
A whole chapter of the Quran is devoted to Haj, warns of the Day of Judgement where each soul will have to account for its deeds. Haj is a spiritual awakening where pilgrims renew their covenant with Allah. It is intended to make one move away from the involvement of this world to an engagement with the Almighty. Haj is an invitation from God to liberate the soul by submission to Him alone. It is a kind of spiritual rebirth, because a sincere Haj is said to wash all of one’s sins away.
The Prophet said, that a person who performed the Haj with a good intention and solely for the sake of Allah, is ‘ as pure as one the day his mother gave birth to him’.