What is the main purpose of the Hajj?
During the Hajj the Hajis do acts of worship and they restart their sense of purpose in the world. Makkah is a home that is blessed to all Muslims. It is so sacred that no non-Muslim is permitted to enter. For getting spiritually charged up, it is important for all the Muslims to know about Hajj facts as it will motivate them to plan to embark on the spiritual journey of Hajj.
Some of the Hajj facts are stated below:
- More than 2.5 million Muslims travel to Makkah, every year to perform the holy pilgrimage of Hajj.
- It is considered to be the largest gathering of humanity in any one time or place. It is the culminating spiritual experience for a Muslim, as well as a logistical challenge for the government of Saudi Arabia.
- Hajj in yesteryears was literally the journey of a lifetime (People used to spend an entire lifetime saving up the money to perform Hajj). This is one of the Hajj facts related to the past.
- The trip to Makkah used to be a grueling experience. Usually took months and (in some cases) even years on horseback or on foot, through mountain terrain and desert. Mobs of thugs often attacked the routes to Makkah to steal money from the pilgrims.
“And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men. They will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways…” (Al Quran 22:27)
- As per the Saudi Press Agency, till the 1950s, the number of Hajj pilgrims was recorded to be less than 100,000. This figure doubled by 1955, and in the year 1972 it touched the figure of 645,000 pilgrims. This is one of the most astonishing Hajj facts.
- One of the Hajj facts is that the number of pilgrims entering from countries outside Saudi Arabia surpassed one million for the first time in the year 1983. Considering the increasing number of pilgrims, OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) passed a resolution to limit the number of pilgrims by applying quota policy. The quota was specified for different countries by taking into account their population.
- One of the interesting Hajj facts is that in recent times, Saudi Arabia welcomed over one million pilgrims from overseas in addition to another one million from within the Kingdom. Most of the pilgrims arrive by air (from the gateway city of Jeddah), a very small number of pilgrims arrive by land or sea.
- Today, Hajj has been made very easy for the pilgrims. They are provided with all the essential facilities. People from all the parts of the world visit Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimages. They usually arrive in the form of organized groups, which are met by air-conditioned buses, experienced travel guides, and are accommodated in 5-star hotels around Makkah. The rites of the pilgrimage are more comfortable as compared to yesteryears, the courtyards are sheltered from the sun, walkways are air-conditioned, escalators transfer the pilgrims to the roof of the mosque, plus cool marble floors are installed to offer Salah on. This is yet another of the modern day Hajj facts.
- Another of the stunning Hajj facts is that the Saudi government spent around 25 billion dollars on modernizing and expanding the facilities for pilgrims. All three levels are filled with the pilgrims; it includes the rooftop of the Mosque, and ramps onto the terraces, malls, and streets in the vicinity.
Looking at the current Hajj facts and figures one might fear that with all the provided ease and facilities, the experience of Hajj today has become less spiritual. Undoubtedly, pilgrims today are deprived of the soul enriching experience which hardships and the level of required efforts used to bring pilgrims in the past. But it is a known fact that regardless of who travels for Hajj from where and when, find the experience to be out of this worlds. They fall short of words to describe their experience and want to visit Makkah again and again. Regardless of the Hajj facts and figures, no matter how much advancement is made, the bond and brotherhood among the pilgrims have remained the same throughout history. There is no other place on this earth where one can find millions of people with different language, race, color, gender, culture, yet united when it comes to faith and purpose. Throughout the Hajj journey these pilgrims demonstrate complete goodwill, discipline, generosity and brotherhood ensuring unique experience.