Saturday 2 September 2017

Hajj Role Play

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims must go on once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage is performed every year in the month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

During the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, the Hajj pilgrimage is performed. Muslims travel to Mecca, from all over the world, to take part in this special act of worship. There is a prescribed way of completing Hajj and all Muslims must do it correctly. To teach the children about Hajj, I decided it would be good to set up the Hajj scene at a local part and get the children to carry out each step in the Hajj journey. Children often learn better from practical learning experiences and role plays are a great part of that. 

The children created each place of significance out of cardboard boxes and made signs to show what each place was. They also did certain crafts to represent certain things along the way. 

Before setting off on our jouney, I gave each of the children a map of Hajj to follow along the way.

Ihram clothing

While performing Hajj, you must be in a state of Ihram. Ihram is the sacred state you enter in order to perform the Hajj. Part of Ihram is wearing special clothing. Women can wear normal clothing that does not attract attention and do not cover their faces. Men must wear two white sheets. This is to make everyone appear the same and represents how we are all equal. There is no rich or poor, celebrity or royalty. Everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah and we are all brothers and sisters joined together to perform Hajj.


We started off in Mecca, the home of the Kaaba. 

The children listened to the story of the prophet Ibrahim pbuh, how he came to build the Kaaba and about the significant events in his life which led us to do Hajj to the Kaaba every year.

Perform Tawaf

The Kaaba is the cube building which is Islam's holiest mosque. All Muslims must face the direction of the Kaaba when they pray. When we perform Hajj we must circumambulate the  Kaaba seven times. This is called Tawaf. While we perform Tawaf, we must say Talbiyah; a supplication which goes like this:

Allahumma Labbayk.
La shareeka laka.
Innal-hamda wan-n'imata
laka wal-mulk.
La shareeka lak."
( Here we come,
O Allah, here we come !
Here we come.
No partner have You.
Here we come!
Praise indeed, and blessings, are Yours---
the Kingdom too!
No partner have You!)

Saa'i between Safa and Marwa

After performing Tawaf, the pilgrims perform Sa'i between the hills of Safa and Marwah. To perform Sa'i you must run between these two hills seven times in remembrance of Hagar, the prophet Ibrahim's (pbuh) wife, who did this in search of water for her son Ismail.

Ibrahim had been instructed by Allah to leave his wife in the desert between the hills of Safa and Marwah. When she had run out of supplies, she began running between the hills searching for water. After she had run between them seven times, a spring appeared where the Archangel Jibrail had hit the ground with his wing. This spring is called the Zamzam well.

Zamzam water is renowned for it's healing properties and purity. It is said to be the purest water on Earth. Its healing properties are due to its high content of calcium, magnesium salts and natural fluorides which have germicidal properties.   


After Mecca, on day 8 of the Hajj, pilgrims head to Mina. Here they camp in tents overnight. In the morning, after fajr (morning) prayer, the pilgrims leave for Arafat where they stay until sunset.


Arafah, on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, is the most significant day of the Hajj. It is where pilgrims spend the day praising Allah, asking for forgiveness and making lots of dua (supllication) until sunset.


After sunset on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims head to Muzdalifah. Here, they stay overnight, praying and making dua. They collect stones for the next part of their journey. The children made stars from cardboard and tin foil to represent staying overnight at Muzdalifah.

On the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, it is Eid day. We call this day Eid al Adha which means the feast of sacrifice. An animal is sacrificed to remember the prophet Ibrahim's obedience to Allah. The story goes that Ibrahim pbuh was ordered to sacrifice his son Ismail as a test of his obedience to Allah. As he was about to do it, a sheep was put in his son's place so he could sacrifice the sheep instead.

So, on this day, Muslim's sacrifice animals. One third of the animal's meat you keep, one third you should give to your friends and neighbours and one third you should give to the poor.

Stoning the Devil

Then the pilgrims go to Mina and trim their hair. For men, this means shaving off their hair but women need only cut off a small piece. On each of the three days of the  Eid celebration, after dhuhr (lunchtime) prayer, they throw stones at three pillars called Jamarat. This is symbolic of Ibrahim's act of stoning the pillars to represent his temptation not to sacrifice his son Ismail and disobeying Allah. This act is called 'Stoning the Devil' as the Devil can tempt us to sin.

We all lined up to stone the devil. We used real pebbles but if you would like something safer you could scrunch newspaper into balls and throw them instead.

Farewell Tawaf

After you have stoned the devil on the third day of Hajj, you may go home. First, go back to the Kaaba and perform a farewell Tawaf around the Kaaba before returning home.

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