Hajj and Eid al-Adha 2024: Dates and Significance

Dates for Hajj and Eid al-Adha 2024

In 2024, Hajj will begin on June 14, based on moon sighting. Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, will be celebrated on June 16.

Importance of Hajj

Hajj is one of the largest annual Muslim gatherings, taking place in Mecca from the 8th to the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the final month of the Islamic calendar. This pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it. It aims to cleanse them of sin and bring them closer to God.

Timing of Hajj

Hajj starts 10 to 12 days earlier each year. The following infographic shows the expected dates for Hajj over the next 31 years.

Eid al-Adha: The Festival of Sacrifice

Eid al-Adha, celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, coincides with the third day of Hajj and lasts for three days. It is the second major Muslim festival after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Significance of Eid al-Adha

On the first day of Eid al-Adha, Muslims who can afford to sacrifice an animal and distribute a set percentage of its meat to those less fortunate. This act commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God.

Performing Hajj: A Step-by-Step Guide

Muslim pilgrims from around the world arrive in Mecca in a purified state known as ihram. This state symbolizes humility, spiritual focus, and unity among pilgrims from different backgrounds.

  • Ihram for Men: Men wear seamless white cloth, with one piece wrapped around the waist and another draped over the left shoulder, leaving the right shoulder bare.
  • Ihram for Women: Women wear plain clothing of their choice, observing the rules of hijab, but they cannot cover their faces.

Hajj re-enacts the Prophet Muhammad’s farewell pilgrimage in 632 AD, tracing the footsteps of the prophets Abraham and Ismail through the desert.

Global Participation in Hajj

In 2023, approximately 1.85 million Muslims performed Hajj. Of these, 1.66 million were international pilgrims, while 184,000 were from Saudi Arabia. Asian countries contributed 1.05 million pilgrims (57%), followed by Arab countries (346,000) and African countries (222,000). The gender distribution was 52.6% male (969,694) and 47.4% female (875,351).

A Digital Experience of Hajj

For those unable to make the pilgrimage, a digital experience offers a glimpse into the worship at Islam’s holiest site. Al Jazeera has produced a 360-degree VR experience that allows viewers to tour the major landmarks visited during Hajj. Users can navigate the experience by moving their phones or dragging the video to see Mecca from all angles.

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