Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca
Hajj is one of the fundamental Islamic practices. It is very potent in its spirituality and as such is obligatory only once in the life of an able person.
"...and pilgrimage to the house is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever disbelieves, surely Allah is self-sufficient, above any need of the worlds". (The holy Qur'an 3:97)
The rewards one receives in this world and the Hereafter are so great that Imam ‘Ali (as) has said:
"Perform the Hajj and ‘Umrah, for they repel poverty and are an atonement (Kaffarah) of sins and make paradise obligatory (for the person who completes them)”
If a person has reached the age of maturity, and is financially and physically able, then Hajj becomes obligatory upon them. Hajj is a journey to Mecca at an appointed time of the year. Muslims from all around the world come together at this time in the holy city of Mecca. They perform certain prescribed rituals. The core of the rituals of Hajj is submission to Allah.
During the Hajj journey, many spiritual benefits are attained through enacting the command of God, and turning our attention towards Him and away from our material endeavours. A strong sense of spiritual fulfillment is experience by those who perform Hajj with a sincere and serious intention.
Hajj also has many social benefits. It brings together people from many different nations and backgrounds in the one place at the same time. It also encourages equity among people, as they must be in the same place, at the same time, wearing the same clothing and following the same rules, no matter what their level of wealth, status or ethnic background.