Hajj Quick Facts - ZA

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2024 Date14 June 2024
2025 Date4 June 2025


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Hajj History

Hajj is an important pilgrimage to Mecca that every able-bodied Muslim is required to undertake at least once in their lifetime. The annual observance brings together millions of faithful Muslims from diverse cultures who set aside their differences to perform deeply symbolic rites. At its heart lies the powerful message of unity and submission to a single divine power that guides and sustains the believers.

The profound history of Hajj dates back to approximately 2000 BCE with roots deeply entrenched in Abraham's life. Echoing the trials and tribulations faced by the patriarch and his family, the rituals embody their unwavering devotion and submission to Allah. South Africans may connect with the essence of the Hajj as a journey of faith and commitment, transcending cultural borders. As a melting pot of cultures and races, South Africa is richly poised to appreciate the universality and transformative nature of this sacred rite.

In South Africa, the spirit of Hajj is celebrated by Muslims with grace and reverence. The Hajj pilgrims or Hujjaj bid their families a teary farewell before embarking on the journey to Mecca. Upon returning, they are warmly welcomed as honored members of the community, having had the opportunity to step foot in the holiest of Islamic cities. The spiritual aura of Hajj does not remain exclusive to the pilgrims, but pervades the very fabric of Muslim society, inspiring a sense of unity and reverence for the sacred journey. 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 Hajj is considered one of the five pillars of Islam, and it is mandatory for all Muslims who are physically and financially capable to perform at least once in their lifetime.
  • The overall cost of performing Hajj for a South African can range between R30,000 to over R100,000 ($2,100 - $7,000), depending on factors such as travel arrangements, type of accommodation, and additional services.

Top things to do in South Africa 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 South Africa. Here are our suggestions:
    1. The Sacred Journey: A South African Hajj (2006) - This documentary showcases the experiences of six South African Muslims as they embark on their journey to Mecca for Hajj. It provides an insightful look at the pilgrimage from a South African perspective.
    2. The Hadji's Daughter: A True Story (2009) by Shafinaaz Hassim - Although it is a book and not a documentary, this memoir recounts the author's experiences in South Africa and her spiritual journey to Hajj as the daughter of a Hajji, offering a unique perspective on Hajj from a South African female point of view.
  • Hajj and Umrah expos, fairs, and exhibitions are held across South Africa, particularly in major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, where travel agencies, banks, and accommodation providers showcase their Hajj and Umrah packages and services.

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