/ (hædʒ) /
Save This Word!

noun plural hadjes
a variant spelling of hajj
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


What is hadj?

Hadj is a less common spelling of hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that every adult Muslim is supposed make at least once in their lifetime. Mecca is a city in Saudi Arabia that is believed to be the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and is considered the spiritual center of Islam.

The specific destination of the hadj is the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building in Mecca that is considered Islam’s holiest site.

Hadj is one of the five Pillars of Islam, which together form the basis for the practice of the Islamic faith. Muslims believe that those who are able to make the hadj (meaning those who are physically and financially able) are required to make the trip at least once in their lives.

The plural of hadj is hadjes. Hajj is sometimes also spelled haj. A person who has completed the pilgrimage can be called a hajji (or haji or hadji).

When is hadj?

Hadj takes place each year between the 8th and the 12th day of the month of Dhu’l-hijjah, the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the corresponding Gregorian calendar dates change each year.

In 2023, hadj will take place during the period from June 26–July 1.

In 2024, hajj will take place during the period from June 14–June 19.

More information and context on hadj

The first records of the word hajj in English come from the late 1600s. It comes from the Arabic word ḥajj, which means “pilgrimage.” The name of the month in which it takes place, Dhul-Hijjah, can be translated as “the month of the pilgrimage.”

In Islam, the hadj is traced to a pilgrimage made by Muhammad to a site known as the Kaaba. The Kaaba is a cube-shaped building that holds a black stone believed to have been given to Ibrahim by the angel Gabriel.  The Qur’an (the Muslim scripture) tells the story of how Ibrahim and his son Ishmael were commanded by Allah to build it as a shrine on the spot of a miraculous well that allowed Ishmael and his mother, Ibrahim’s wife Hagar, to survive in the desert. Muslims believe Mecca was built around the Kaaba (and this is what Muslims face toward when saying their daily prayers).

Those participating in the pilgrimage take part in different rituals during each of its five days, including walking around the Kaaba. They also follow certain rules of behavior and dress, including wearing white clothes (called ihram) that symbolize the state of purity that Muslims must be in when undertaking the hadj.

The last three days of hadj coincide with the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing hadj?

How is hadj discussed in real life?

For many Muslims, the hadj is an obligation that they fulfill once in their life. It is much more commonly spelled hajj.

Try using hadj!

True or False?

Hadj is one of the five Pillars of Islam.

How to use hadj in a sentence