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PIA Press Release

200 Hajj pilgrims undergo vaccination

by Breezy C. Jimenez

Tubod, Lanao del Norte (22 October) -- More than 200 Hajj pilgrims underwent a free vaccination made possible by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and Quarantine Office in region 10 recently at the Mindanao Civic Center, this province.

The vaccination is conducted as safety compliance of our Muslim brothers who are about to leave for the Holy Land, Mecca, for the largest annual pilgrimage in the world and is the Fifth Pillar of Islam which is an obligation that must be fulfilled at least once in the lifetime of every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.

Hajj depicts the solidarity and unity of the Muslim people and their submission to Allah.

According to research, the pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.

Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year. In 2007, the Hajj was from December 17-21; in 2008 from December 6-10, and in 2009 will be November 25-29.

Ihram is the name given to the special state in which Muslims live while fulfilling this obligation.

The rituals done during the pilgrimage to Mecca date back thousands of years ago from the time of Ibrahim (Abraham) and can be associated with the life of Islamic Prophet Muhammad from the 7th century.

Pilgrims join a procession of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge in Mecca for the week-long Hajj performing a series of rituals: Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Ka'bah, a cube-shaped building which serves as the Muslim direction of prayer; kisses the Black Stone in the corner of the Kaaba; runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah; drinks from the Zamzam Well; goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil; and throws stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha.

However, pilgrims may also go to Mecca to perform rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the "lesser pilgrimage," or Umrah. But even if they perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some point in their lifetime if they are financially viable. (Lanao del Norte) [top]

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