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In Luke 7, Jesus predicts that his encounter with a sinful woman will become famous throughout the world and throughout history. This woman washed His feet with an abundance of tears, anointed Him with embalming perfume, and wiped His feet with her long hair. Jesus says in response: “Your sins are forgiven.” Today, that same desire, the desire for forgiveness of sins, is found on many blog sites, where Muslim women are asking if the Hajj will cleanse them not only of small common sins, but also of big serious sins. They are told that their desire will be granted by the Hajj, which “if performed properly and sincerely for Allah, removes all sins.”
Muslims go on the Hajj because it is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Hajj is the pinnacle of life for Muslims around the world. They are commanded to perform the Hajj at least once in their life if they are able. It begins on the 8th day of the 12th month of Dhul Hijjah in the Islamic calendar. During these days, around 3 million Muslims from all over the world flock to Mecca to perform sacred acts and follow the steps of Muhammad, their prophet. This year, the Hajj will start on August 19 and last for 3 (for some pilgrims it will take longer to do the Hajj).
The main purpose of the Hajj is to receive the forgiveness of sins. Muslims go on the Hajj to be cleansed of sin. In our right minds, we know something is wrong with us. Therefore, we have a desire to be clean and justified. Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 4:7,8 states, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
This is a call for Christians to pray for Muslims as they go on the Hajj.
You can find an informational video about the Hajj on YouTube (see above). The following pages are designed to fuel Christ-centered prayers during this Hajj.
To prepare yourself spiritually for this prayer time, take the time to read through Hebrews 9:1 – 10:19.
Many people will visit the
They will stay in a tent city
Sacred Act 1: Ihram (cleaning, preparation day)
Pilgrims must enter into the state of Ihram (purity) which involves washing then wearing white, plain garments. These garments indicate that all pilgrims are equal. Following this cleansing, pilgrims are officially on the Hajj. As they cross the pilgrimage boundary, the men will shout the Talbiyah, a Muslim prayer: “Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners.* Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners.”*
Before many of the modern conveniences, the first day of the Hajj was spent collecting enough water for the next day of the Hajj. Now it has become a day of cleansing, visiting the Ka’aba in the Grand Mosque, and entering 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.
Key Scriptures to Pray
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:11-14
Two to three million Muslims come together from all over the world for this spiritual journey called the Hajj. Pray for physical safety and protection from disease.
Jesus Christ is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God. Pray that the radiance of Jesus would shine strong and bright today in Mecca. Pray for their spiritual journey to include dreams and visions of Jesus. Pray Muslims would know that Jesus provides “purification for sins.”
As these Muslims walk into the Grand Mosque and see the Ka’aba, they feel like they are entering the most holy place on earth. Hebrews 9:11-14 (above) talks about a “perfect tabernacle,” built not by human hands and not of this creation that Jesus Christ entered to provide “eternal redemption.” Pray that pilgrims would know that only in Jesus can they have an unblemished and clean conscience.
* It would be in statements like these that Muslims would not allow room for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 10:21-23, Galatians 4:6
Sacred Act 2: Wuqoof (standing at Arafat)
Today is the most important day of the Hajj. Why? Because Muslim scholars say this is the “day the religion of Islam was perfected.” The Hajj only becomes valid when the day of Wuqoof is observed. For it is on this day Muslims believe their major and minor sins are forgiven.* If they miss this day, their pilgrimage is pointless. Today, they will invoke Allah for mercy and forgiveness as they stand or sit near Mount Arafat.
Muslims believe that as they finish this day they are cleansed of sin,* which also brings freedom from shame. At sunset, a cannon sounds. Pilgrims leave Mount Arafat going to Muzdalifah, where they sleep or stay up all night under the stars.
Key Scriptures to Pray
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
He [Jesus Christ] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he [Jesus] is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Acts 10:42-43
Forgiveness on Mount Arafat,
Muslim pilgrims long for their major and minor sins to be removed from their lives. John the Baptist’s words cry out that Jesus takes away the sins of the world. Pray that Muslims would not feel a cleansed heart, mind and soul until they realize the finished work that Jesus has accomplished on their behalf.
God appointed Jesus to be judge of the living and the dead. Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins. Pray that the truth of the Lord Jesus’ life, death and resurrection would penetrate the hearts of longing Muslims. Pray they will be drawn to the Giver of Life.
Pray that as many Muslims seek to stay up all night to pray, they would have dreams and visions of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:17). Ask God for an open heaven and for the people who are genuinely seeking an encounter with God to have one that leads them to the incredible truth found in Jesus.
* The Bible talks about sins being cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Matthew 26:28, Acts 2:38, 1 John 1:7
Sacrifice an animal
Men will shave their heads
7 times around the Ka'aba
Running between two small mountains
For the pilgrims, day three is the longest day. It might take some people two days, and the pilgrimage is not finished until they complete all of these sacred acts.
There are five different sacred acts to perform today and they can be done in almost any order. This can take some people more than one day.
1. They will stone the pillars of Satan
2. Men will shave their heads (an act of humility and cleanliness)
3. They will sacrifice a permissible animal
4. They will circle the Ka’aba seven times
5. They will run between the two hills of Safa and Marwa
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest (Jesus Christ) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:10-14
Going before the Father
Ephesians 6:12 states “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against… the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Muslims understand there is a spiritual battle caused by Satan. Throwing rocks at Satan during the day of stoning is meaningless apart from the cross and resurrection which defeated Satan. Pray that they would see that only Jesus defeated sin, Satan and death. May they know that in Christ, they can have mighty weapons “for the tearing down of strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Thank the Lord that Muslims see the importance of sacrificing an animal. In the Old Testament, it meant forgiveness of sins. After Jesus died on the cross, animal sacrifice was not required, for His death covered all sins. Pray that Muslims will understand the meaning behind the sacrifice and cross of Jesus. Pray that they will understand that the Father so loved the world that He had to give His Son (Jesus) because whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Ask that God would overwhelm people with the truth and reality of Jesus’ death on the cross. Ask that the Holy Spirit would move in people’s hearts so that they can understand the fullness of the resurrection.
As Muslims circle the Ka’aba and run from hill to hill, ask that they will see the futility of these acts. They can have peace with God and a commitment to Him, but it is only through what Christ did for them. Pray that they will hear this good news and believe.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) As the pilgrims leave after all these spiritual experiences and the exercises they have done, pray they may still feel extreme emptiness and a lack of peace until they know the Redeemer of their souls, Jesus.
Continue to pray that Muslims will come to know Jesus, the giver of life. Pray that many from all different people groups around the world would come to know Him. Pray that whole families would come to know Jesus and together walk with Him.