Hajj, also spelled ḥadjdj or hadj, in Islam, the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim must make at least once in his or her lifetime. The hajj is the fifth of the fundamental Muslim practices and institutions known as the Five Pillars of Islam. The pilgrimage rite begins on the 7th day of Dhū al-Ḥijjah (the last month of the Islamic
The hajj is incumbent on all Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the pilgrimage, but only if their absence will not place hardships on their family. A person may perform the hajj by proxy, appointing a relative or friend going on the pilgrimage to “stand in” for him or her.
The pattern of pilgrimage rites was established by the Prophet Muhammad, but variations have arisen in it, and the stringent formal itinerary is not strictly adhered to by the mass of pilgrims, who frequently visit the various Meccan sites out of their proper order.