Hajj Quick Facts - GB

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2024 Date14 June 2024
2025 Date4 June 2025


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Hajj History

The Hajj is a religious pilgrimage observed by Muslims around the world as a means of fulfilling one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Taking place in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, it is a spiritual journey that millions of devoted Muslims partake in each year. The primary purpose of the Hajj is to demonstrate the unity and submission of Muslims to Allah while establishing a connection to the revered Prophet Muhammad. Participants engage in various religious rituals aimed at cleansing the soul, seeking forgiveness, and becoming more devout worshippers.

Historically, Hajj dates back to the era of Prophet Abraham, who built the Kaaba - the sacred structure at the centre of Islam's holiest site - in ancient Mecca. The importance of Hajj for people in the United Kingdom lies in its cultural and spiritual significance, allowing British Muslims to deepen their faith and develop a greater understanding of their religion's history. As the UK prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive society, supporting and respecting the observance of Hajj fosters intercultural understanding and promotes unity amongst the nation's multi-faith population.

Typically, during the Hajj period, British Muslims would either embark on the pilgrimage themselves or participate in local events to commemorate the occasion. It is common for those unable to perform Hajj to engage in acts of worship, charity, and exhibitions highlighting the cultural heritage associated with the pilgrimage. The observance of Hajj in the UK is based on the Islamic lunar calendar and usually takes place over a period of five days during the twelfth month, Dhu al-Hijjah. Hajj is observed on June 26th this year.

Hajj facts

  • According to Sahih Bukhari (one of the six main hadith writings of Sunni Islam), the Prophet Muhammad once said that those who finish the Hajj without committing any obscenity or transgression will have their sins completely wiped away.
  • All male pilgrims wear the ihram, a garment that is made of two pieces of unstitched clothing. They are forbidden from wearing anything that has stitches in it, clothes that cover their ankles, or anything that cover their heads. All female pilgrims are forbidden from wearing anything to cover their faces or hands.
  • The United Kingdom has a significant Muslim population, with an estimated 3.4 million Muslims, which is about 5% of the total UK population.
  • In 1933, Lady Evelyn Cobbold became the first British Muslim woman documented to have performed Hajj. Born into British nobility, she converted to Islam in her 20s and wrote about her experiences in the book titled Pilgrimage to Mecca.

Top things to do in the UK for Hajj

  • If you are Muslim, go on a Hajj pilgrimage or attend the smaller Umrah.
  • Visit the mountains of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah in Mecca. Pilgrims walk between two hills, Safa and Marwa, seven times during the Hajj because they believe that Hagar, the wife of Abraham, did the same when looking for water for her thirsty baby Ismael. As soon as she finished her seventh run, the Zamzam well sprung out from under baby Ismael's foot. To this day, pilgrims on the Hajj drink the Zamzam's water, and often take it home with them in large canisters.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about Hajj in the United Kingdom. Here are our suggestions:
    1. The Hajj: The Journey of a Lifetime (2013)- This documentary produced by the BBC follows various British Muslims as they undertake the Hajj pilgrimage, exploring their experiences and the impact it has on their lives.
    2. Hajj: The Greatest Trip on Earth (2016)- A Channel 4 documentary that explores the Hajj pilgrimage through the eyes of Muslims from the UK.
    3. A HAJJ Diary (2005)- This documentary follows the personal journey of British Muslims as they embark on their pilgrimage to Mecca, sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences throughout the journey.
  • Celebrate Hajj and eat a date. Dates are often consumed each day during Hajj, as it is believed that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to break his fast with dates.

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