JEDDAH – The Hajj 2018 season has begun, with the first flights arriving to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Malaysia on Saturday July 14, Arab News reported.
The 11th Hijri month of Dhul-Qi’dah 1439 AH started on Saturday July 14, 2018 to begin the spiritual preparation for the Hajj pilgrimage season in August this year.
Dhul-Qi’dah is one of the four Sacred Hijri months of the Islamic Calendar, namely Rajab, Dhul-Qi’dah and Dhul-Hijjah, in addition to the 1st month, Muharram.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said in his farewell pilgrimage:
“O People! Time has gone back to how it was at the time Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. A year has twelve months, four of which are sacred, three consecutive, Dhul-Qi’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, as well as Rajab, which comes between Jumadaa and Sha’ban.” [Al-Bukhari].
In Islam, a sacred month is a Hijri month when battle and fighting are forbidden. According to astronomical calculations, Dhul-Qi’dah 1439 is expected to end on August 11, meaning that Dhul Hijjah will start on Sunday, August 12.
As a result, the rituals of Hajj will occur this year between Sunday, August 19 and Friday, August 24. Furthermore, Eid al-Adha will start on August 21.
As a lunar calendar, the Hijri months lag behind the solar Gregorian calendar by around ten days per year. Moreover, there is a 579-year difference between the Hijri and the Gregorian calendars.
Significant events occurred in Dhul-Qi’dah including the start of the first ever pilgrimage trip to Makkah by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions, on the 25th day.
Hajj was made compulsory in the 9th Hijri year, thus all Muslims are obliged to observe Hajj once in their lifetime, if they are financially and physically capable to do so.