In a rarest of rare case, people saw on Friday night Bollywood
superstar and top film producer Aamir Khan embarking for Haj with
his mother Zeenat Hussain from Sahar International airport to the
holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia.
Embarking on Haj was a
long-overdue wish of Aamir Khan's mother Zeenat Hussain who
belongs to the family of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad - the great
Indian Muslim scholar and freedom fighter. One of the most
important leaders post Indian Independence, Maulana
Azad was born in Makkah.
Though Indian film industry has many
Muslim stars, it is rarely seen any one of them going to Haj at
this age. Earlier on may occasions Bollywood thespian Dilip Kumar
went to Saudi Arabia for Umrah - the prayer regarded as small Haj.
It was however Mohammad Rafee - one
of the most popular singers India has ever seen, who made the headlines
when he went to Haj in the eighties.
As one of Islam's five pillars, the
Haj is enjoined on all Muslims who are physically able to carry it
out. The grand mosques in Makkah and Medina, the two holiest in
Islam, draw millions of pilgrims annually.
Home to Islam's holiest sites, Saudi Arabia regards itself as the
guardian of Islam and assumes the responsibility of maintaining a
peaceful Haj season when Muslims from various sects gather at the
same place and time.
Haj starts on the eighth day of the lunar month of Dhu al Hijja,
most pilgrims come earlier to visit the holy mosques in Makkah and
nearby Medina, where the prophet Muhammad was buried over 1,400
Among the rites they must perform during the three-day pilgrimage,
hajis must walk seven times around the Kaaba, the cube-shaped
building at the centre of the Grand Mosque, do seven rounds of
Safa and Marvah - the two holy mountains.
The most important part of the Haj
ritual is the presence at Arafat on Youme Arafah - the Arafat Day.
The day this year will be on October 25 when around 3.5mn people
from all across the world will assemble at Arafat and pray for
peace and harmony and seek forgiveness from the all mighty Allah.
The Haj rituals also coincide with the celebration of Eid Al Adha
- second most important Muslim festival which falls in Saudi
Arabia this year on October 26, 2012.