We are starting a new series today, Hajj for Kids, to talk about the annual pilgrimage to Makkah that Muslims make at least once in their lifetime. I am sharing today information about what Hajj is and how you can teach your children more about it.
Hajj takes place in Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Muslim calendar. From the 8th of Dhul Hijjah to the 13th, the Haji (pilgrims) travel to plains of Mina, Mudhdalifa and Arafat, near Makkah. They live in tents and travel to and fro by buses, cars, trains or any other means of transportation available to them. Some Haji travel by foot too. They stay there in the tents for five days performing their rites peacefully with the only intention that their prayers are answered and their pilgrimage accepted. In Hajj, one must not pick a fight, get angry or bring harm to anyone or anything. No matter the difficulties they face, they must remain calm and try to be at their best human behavior. This isn’t easy because with so many people in one place, all living together and sharing the basic necessities, it can be very challenging! After the five days of praying and rituals, the Haji can return back to their homeland.
Hajj takes place only in Makkah. Those who want to perform Hajj must travel to Makkah. However, it is not obligatory on every one. There are a few conditions that must be met before one can go for Hajj:
- The person is of age. He or she must be at least 14 years old.
- He/she is of sane mind and health and capable of going on a long journey.
- He or she is financially capable of going on the pilgrimage and has no debts or responsibility. That means, you cannot do Hajj with borrowed money.
This also means that not everyone can go. Also, ladies cannot go alone. They must be accompanied by a Mahram (some man from among her family or relative who is capable of protecting her). Although our lives have become much easier today with all the modernization and Hajj has become much easier than it was in olden days, it is still very difficult to perform all the rites of Hajj yourself. Every year, the Saudi television broadcasts live transmission of Hajj from Makkah. You can very easily watch these on YouTube or any other Social media channels. You can show this to your children too.
Hajj is not performed by all Muslims. Only some of them go on the pilgrimage. Those who stay behind celebrate Eid ul Adha on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah to remember the sacrifice of Prophet Abraham. (The Haji don’t celebrate Eid.) On Eid, Muslims sacrifice an animal and distribute the meat. The meat is divided into three parts: one for the family, one for relatives and friends, and the last part for the poor.
How to teach the children about Hajj
Most children will not understand Hajj but teaching them about it is a part of teaching them about Islam. I am sharing with you a few ways how you can help your child learn about this last pillar of Islam too:
- Talk about the five pillars of Islam. Mention Hajj and explain what it is, who can go on it and what they do.
- Let them build a tent and live in it. Kids love to build tents and dens. You can invite them to set up a Hajj tent in which they can pray, sleep or read.
- Give them an Ihram to wear for a day. Ihram for boys is two pieces of un-stitched white cloth that they can wrap around themselves. Girls can wear whatever but need a white head scarf over it. Alternatively, you can let them dress up a cuddly toy or doll too.
- Teach them the Talabiyyah; Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk (which means; In response to Your call, O Allah, here I come.)
- Talk to them about how a Haji should not fight, argue or get angry. Talk about how they should be helpful and get along with everyone. Those who perform Hajj do not cut their nails or hair during the Hajj days and they must not harm even animals or bugs. Help the children practice this for the five days of Hajj.
- Show them videos and pictures of Hajj. You can also see the live telecast I mentioned above. We loved watching them as children.
- Crafts can also help them better understand Hajj. Since your child will be celebrating Eid, you can choose to make sheep crafts or Kaaba cards, etc. More ideas for making Eid and Hajj greeting cards here. You can also make lap books explaining the journey of Hajj.
- If you know someone who has performed Hajj recently or is going on Hajj, take the children to meet them. You can also talk to seniors or grandparents who have performed Hajj. Children love hearing stories of adventures and really, Hajj stories are usually like that!
These are just some of the simple ways that I have used to introduce my children to Hajj. Do share your ideas as to how we can talk to our children about Hajj? Tell us in the comments.
This post is part of the series Hajj for Kids. Follow along for more great ideas about teaching kids about Hajj!
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