September 30, 2020

Pilgrimage is “a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through experience. It can lead to personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.”

Hajj makes up one of the five pillars of Islam central to Muslim belief alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm. It is an annual Islamic pilgrimage made to the Kabbah (“The House of Allah”) in the sacred city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage is performed over five or six days (dependent upon the Lunar Islamic Calendar), beginning on the eighth day and ending on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.

Apart from being an obligatory religious duty, Hajj is seen to have a spiritual merit that provides an opportunity for self-renewal and is a demonstration of solidarity and submission to Allah (“God”). The word Hajj means "to attend a journey," which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions.

See below from our fellow Epsteiners as they share their experiences on the importance of this journey:

Michele Durrani

“As a practicing Muslim, we believe that we are invited by Allah to perform Hajj and/or Umrah (often called a mini Hajj that can be performed any time during the year and is non-mandatory, unlike Hajj). I had the fortunate luck of performing Umrah several years ago. Performing Umrah was probably one of the biggest life changing experiences I have ever had other than the birth of my son. The introspection and spirituality felt during each circle around the Kabbah, this architecturally simple four-cornered building shrouded in blackness and gold scripture, walking the same paths that our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) who walked before us, brought me closer to the Creator than ever before. Looking around you do not see color, race, creed, age, gender or any bias; there is no discrimination, only the feeling of unity in worship. So I can only imagine that Hajj will Insha’Allah ("if God wills") bring a greater sense of spirituality.

I hope and pray that I, too, be called to perform Hajj Insha’Allah ("if God wills"). It would complete the once in a lifetime pillar requirement, while other pillars remain until I am alive and able, will bring my life full circle and I would be amongst those who completed a journey dating back to the time of Abraham.”

Fayad Shahim

“My mom performed the Hajj twice, and here is what she had to say about it:

‘It is very spiritually fulfilling, even though it’s strenuous due to the climate in Saudi Arabia and old age. You definitely see the world in a more enlightened view after having such a blessed experience’”

Wishing everyone a blessed Eid Al’Adha Mubarak!