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The Hajj season has long been the epicentre of Islam. If you don’t know the story, well buckle in for one of the greatest events in human history. To reap the huge rewards bestowed by Allah (SWT) in this month, we’re super excited to share the return of the Dhul Hijjah Challenge  by the amazing team at Launchgood. Simply visit the site by clicking here to be part of the challenge and help to support 10 causes around the world with as little or as much as you can donate. 

This pilgrimage, known as the Hajj, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (the others are the profession of Allah as the only God and Mohammed as his prophet; fasting during Ramadan; charitable giving and ritual prayer) by which every practicing Muslim must abide. The Hajj consists of a five-day journey, required by all physically and financially able Muslims, to Mecca and the nearby holy sites of Arafat, Mina, and Muzdalifah. Once there, pilgrims perform a series of rituals to unify themselves with other believers, absolve themselves of their sins and pay tribute to God.

The History of Hajj
Approximately four thousand years ago, the valley of Mecca was completely dry; it was a place where nothing but sand dunes dominated the land. Allah (SWT) instructed the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to bring his wife Hajira and son Isma’il to Arabia from Palestine. On instructions from Allah, Ibrahim left Hajira and Isma’il alone in the dessert with some food and water however when they s quickly ran out they became dehydrated and hungry. Hajira was desperate and she ran up and down the two hills of Safa’a and Marwa’a to find anyone to help. As she lay down beside her son and prayed for deliverance, an angel descended from heaven striking the ground with his wing. A spring of water burst forth and Hajira and Isma’il rejoiced. Allah instructed the Prophet Ibrahim to create a place of worship, dedicated to him at the site of the well. He and his son worked together to build a small stone building, named the Kaaba (or Kaabah). This new shrine was intended to be a sacred gathering place for all those who wanted to strengthen their faith in Allah.

Makkah became a busy and blessed city and the Prophet Ibrahim would come to Makkah every year to perform the Hajj, and after his death, Isma’il carried on this tradition. As time went by, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received divine instructions from Allah. God wanted him to restore the Kaaba after it had been used for idol worship and rededicate it to the worship of Allah and Allah alone. In 628, Muhammad made the journey of Hajj with thousands of his followers. 

The Hajj Today
Today, nearly 3 million people go on the Hajj pilgrimage every year no matter their skin colour, race or personal wealth. Everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah, regardless of social status or ethnic background. Even if you’re not going to Hajj, the month of Hajj (Dhul Hijjah) is very special. It’s a time for prayer, fasting and self-reflection. The blessings of Allah are greatly multiplied in this month, so it’s a great time to give to charity. It’s also the time when Muslims can contribute to Qurbani and a host of other great deeds like supporting the Dhul Hijjah Challenge with Launchgood. 

I’m not going to Hajj though!
That’s OK, there are plenty of acts of kindness, worship and remembrance you can do to benefit from the month of Hajj. 

“It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches Allah, It is their piety that reaches Allah.” [Surah Al-Haj:37]
It is best to go about the sacrifice the traditional way and offering it in your locality, however, where you face logistical issues, nowadays it is much easier for us to fulfil this sacred act by the mere click of a button on the established Muslim charity websites.

Ramp up the kindness
Hopefully you’re kind already, but there are so many things you can do to increase your humility in this month. Get the routine work out the way, prioritise time to understanding the Quran, Dhikr and spending time in the best of company. Be nice. Yeh, it’s cool to be nice and being nice to people you don’t even know is even better. Make new acquaintances, share your wealth with those less fortunate and spend a bit more time with parents and family.

It’s not just for Ramadhan, fasting the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah is rewarded with the forgiveness of minor sins for 2 years. If all 9 days is a push for you, then try your best to fast the blessed day of Arafat on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah.