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Important Facts For Prelims

Hajj Pilgrimage

  • 08 Feb 2023
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

The ministry of Minority Affairs has announced a new Haj policy under which the application forms have been made available for free and the package cost per pilgrim has been reduced by Rs 50,000.

  • The reduction of Rs 50,000 comes primarily in the form of relaxation of norms for foreign currency – earlier a Haj pilgrim had to submit the equivalent of 2,100 Saudi Riyal, amounting to approximately Rs 44,000, that was submitted to the Haj Committee for foreign exchange.

What is Hajj Pilgrimage?

  • The Hajj is a religious pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia that is mandatory for all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is considered a central part of Muslim religious life.
    • Five Pillars:
      • Shahada (Faith): The declaration of faith in the oneness of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as God's prophet.
      • Salah (Prayer): Performing the five daily prayers facing the Kaaba in Mecca.
      • Zakat (Charity): Giving a portion of one's wealth to those in need.
      • Sawm (Fasting): Fasting during the month of Ramadan.
      • Hajj (Pilgrimage): Making a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca at least once in a lifetime if one is physically and financially able.
  • The Hajj takes place during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah and involves several rituals.
    • Dhu al-Hijjah is the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar. It is considered one of the most sacred months in the Islamic year and is seen as a time of renewal, spiritual growth, and reflection, and is considered an important time to strive for greater closeness with God.
  • Participating in the Hajj is seen as a way to demonstrate one's devotion to God and to earn spiritual merit, and it is a source of great pride and inspiration for many Muslims.

How is Hajj Pilgrimage Promoted by India?

  • Ministry of Minority Affairs is the nodal ministry to conduct Haj pilgrimage in India.
  • Haj pilgrimage for the Indian Pilgrims is conducted either through Haj Committee of India (HCoI), which is a statutory organization under the administrative control of Ministry of Minority Affairs or through the Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) dully approved by Ministry.
  • Also, the Hajj pilgrimage is promoted by various religious organizations, Islamic cultural centers, and other government agencies.
  • India signed the Haj 2023 bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia. According to the agreement, a total of 1,75,025 Indian Haj pilgrims will be able to perform Haj, reportedly the highest in history.

Source: IE

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