Excerpt from: Praying through the Arabian Peninsula
Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage that is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims, begins this week. During the Hajj, which starts this year on October 2 and runs for three or four days, an estimated three million Muslims will be making the journey to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to perform sacred acts and follow the steps of their prophet Mohammed in a quest to be cleansed of their sins. This is a strategic time for Christians to pray for Muslims.

Their first sacred act on Day One involves washing, and then wearing plain white garments, an act that they believe allows them to enter into the state of purity. On completion of this cleansing, pilgrims are officially on the Hajj. As they cross the pilgrimage boundary, the men will shout the Talbiyah, a Muslim prayer, ‘Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners.’ In the days before modern conveniences, the first day of the Hajj was spent collecting enough water for the next day. Now it has become a day of cleansing, and visiting the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque, being sure to enter the mosque with their right foot first. After leaving the Grand Mosque, many pilgrims will walk to the tent city of Mina to spend the night.
Day Two is considered the most important day of the Hajj. As Muslims stand or sit near Mount Arafat, they believe their major and minor sins are forgiven. If they miss this day, their pilgrimage is pointless. Muslims believe that when they finish this day, they will be cleansed of sin, which brings freedom from shame. At sunset, a cannon sounds and the pilgrims leave Mount Arafat and go to Muzdalifah where they will sleep or stay up all night under the stars.
Day Three is the longest day of the Hajj. Some people may take two days to complete this section of the journey, and the pilgrimage is not finished until they complete all five of today’s sacred acts. In any order, they must stone the pillars of Satan, sacrifice a permissible animal, circle the Kaaba seven times and run between the two hills of Safa and Marwa, and men will shave their heads as an act of humility and cleanliness.
For more information on the Hajj, please view this brief video from PrayerShorts. You can download a prayer guide from this link.