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hajj

or haj, hadj

[ haj ]
/ hædʒ /
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noun, plural hajj·es.
the pilgrimage to Mecca, which every adult Muslim is supposed to make at least once in his or her lifetime: the fifth of the Pillars of Islam.
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Origin of hajj

First recorded in 1665–75, hajj is from the Arabic word ḥajj pilgrimage
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What is hajj?

Hajj refers to 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 hajj is the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building in Mecca that is considered Islam’s holiest site.

Hajj 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 hajj (meaning those who are physically and financially able) are required to make the trip at least once in their lives.

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

When is hajj?

Hajj 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 2021, hajj will take place during the period from July 17–22.

In 2022, hajj will take place during the period from July 7–12.

More information and context on hajj

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 hajj 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 hajj.

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

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

How is hajj discussed in real life?

For many Muslims, the hajj is an obligation that they fulfil once in their life.

Try using hajj!

True or False?

Hajj is one of the five Pillars of Islam.

How to use hajj in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hajj

hajj

hadj

/ (hædʒ) /

noun plural hajjes or hadjes
the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim is required to make at least once in his life, provided he has enough money and the health to do so

Word Origin for hajj

from Arabic hajj pilgrimage
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
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