The Rites of Pilgrimage from the Life of Prophet Abraham and His Family
Each and every year, millions of Muslims from all over the world travel to Mecca to perform the annual major pilgrimage. Much of what they do is taken from the story of Prophet Abraham and his family. Let us explore some of these major points.
- Circumambulation of the Kabah
Pilgrims circumambulate the Kabah seven times in an anti-clockwise direction. It was the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael who built the Kabah.
- Offering Ritual Devotions behind the Station of Abraham
The station of Abraham refers to the stone upon which Abraham stood in order to build the Kabah. God commands us to take it as a place of prayer. For this reason, after the circumambulation of the Kabah, pilgrims offer two units of ritual devotion as close as they can to this station.
- Running between the Hills of Safa and Marwah
When Ishmael and his mother were left in Mecca there was no water in that land. As Ishmael began to cry from thirst, his mother, Hajar began to search for water. In order to see the area better, she ran between the two hills of Safa and Marwah to look for water. Today pilgrims do the same.
- The Water of Zamzam
As Ishmael’s mother was searching for water, a well began to sprout by the feet of baby Ishmael. This water became a well with plentiful and blessed water. This water is known as Zamzam.
- Stoning the Pillars
As part of the rites of pilgrimage, pilgrims throw pebbles at a pillar in a place close to Mecca called Mina. This signifies the times Satan came to Abraham to try to dissuade him from sacrificing his son Ishmael. Abraham threw stones at Satan to ward him off.
- The Sacrifice
Pilgrims offer a sacrifice of a sheep during the pilgrimage just as God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. It is also recommended for Muslims not performing pilgrimage to offer a sacrifice at the time of the second annual festival of Eid.