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What are the steps of Hajj?
Hajj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca (Makah), the holiest city for all Muslims of the world. It occurs every year in the Twelfth month of Islamic calendar which is called Dhul Hijjaha. Hajj starts from 8th day of Dhul Hijjaha and ended on 13th day of the same month. Hajj has seven steps which are given below.
To perform Hajj, a pilgrim must put on Ihram, the two white sheets of seamless cloth. Ihram is the sacred state of pilgrims. During this state, some actions become forbidden for the pilgrims which includes the cutting of both nails and hairs, hunting, sexual intercourse with counterpart and so on.
2 To Mina
After Fajjar prayer pilgrims set out for Mina from Mecca. In Mina pilgrims spent their whole day in prayer and remembering Allah Almighty. The distance between Mecca and Mina is about Eight Kilo Meters. Pilgrims are free to move either by foot or by buses or cars.
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3 To Arafat
The next day, on 9th Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims move to Mount Arafat from Mina by travelling a distance of about 14.4 Kilo Meters. On the way pilgrims recite Talbiyah. Pilgrims stay at Arafat till sunset.
In other parts of the world Muslims fast on this day.
4 To Muzdalifah
After sunset in Arafat, the next destination of Pilgrims is Muzadlifah where they pray their prayers and spend the night under stars. During their stay at Muzdalifah, pilgrims collect pebbles of same size for stoning the devil next day.
5 Rami, Nahr, Halq
Next day, on 10th Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims are required to perform three tasks. This is why it is the longest and busiest day of Pilgrims. After Fajar prayer, pilgrims have to reach Mina before dawn.
- Rami-Stoning the Devil: Here they perform first Rami by throwing Seven pebbles at the largest of three pillars representing the devils. Stoning the devil is known as Rami.
- Nahr-Animal Sacrifice: After Rami, next step is to carry out animal sacrifice. Pilgrims can slaughter sheep, goat, cow or camel or even can pay for it to be done in their names. Animal sacrifice is called Nahr.
- Halq-Triming Head: Next step is called Halq. At this step Pilgrims, only men must shave their heads and remove their Ihram clothes.
After completing the above steps many pilgrims return to Mecca and perform Tawaf-e-Kaaba and Sa’aye between Safa and Marwa. After this they returned to their campsite in Mina.
6 Rami- 11th and 12th Dhul Hijjah
On 11th and 12th Dhul Hijjah pilgrims again stone the devils. This time they stone all the three pillars representing the devils.
7 Tawaf e Widda
When their time in Mina is finished pilgrims return to Mecca to perform the last circulation of Kaaba which is known as Tawaf-e-Widda.
After completing all steps of Hajj, many people visit Madina, the next holiest city of Islam. Here Muslims visit the grave of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). This is however not a part of the Hajj.
Source: Above answer is based on information given by Al Jazeera in one of its reports (published in November 2009).