Every year, millions of Muslims converge on the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to symbolically retrace the footsteps of Adam, Eve, Abraham and Hagar, and to be reminded that they are part of the umma—the worldwide community of Islam. This is the Hajj, or pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam. Every Muslim who is physically and financially able is required to complete this journey in his or her lifetime.
God can use this time of spiritual focus to give Muslims a hunger for the gospel! Here’s how you can pray for least-reached Muslims seeking to meet Allah’s requirements through the Hajj.
Participants wash and put on plain white garments that represent the equality of all pilgrims. They travel to the tent city of Mina, where they spend the night.
- Pray that the spiritual focus of this time will cause many Muslims to think about what they believe. Ask God to bring believers into the lives of those who take part in the Hajj this year.
The pilgrims continue to Arafat, where they stand or sit from noon to sunset, invoking Allah for mercy and seeking forgiveness for sins.
- Pray that Muslims will experience the true forgiveness that is available through Christ alone.
At sunset, pilgrims leave for Muzdalifah, where they spend the night under the open sky.
- As many pilgrims stay up all night to pray, ask God to reveal Himself to them.
Pilgrims take part in the “stoning of the devil,” throwing seven stones at a wall representing Satan. Muslims believe that Abraham threw stones at the devil to resist the temptation to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
- Pray that Muslims will overcome the evil one through faith in Christ.
Men shave their heads or cut their hair, while women cut the ends of their hair, as a sign of humility and purity.
- Pray that many Muslims will understand that true purity is possible only through Christ.
Pilgrims slaughter an acceptable animal or pay to have an animal sacrificed in their name.
- Pray that many Muslims will understand that Jesus, the true Lamb, died as a substitutionary sacrifice for sin.
Pilgrims circle the Kaaba (a cube-shaped building at the center of the most sacred mosque in Mecca) seven times, and run or walk seven times through tunnels between the hills of Safa and Marwah.
- Pray that God would show many pilgrims that works and rituals cannot save them.
Pilgrims “stone the devil” again by throwing stones at each of three walls. This ritual also symbolizes the repudiation of a person’s own “internal despot,” or low desires and wishes.
- Pray that many Muslims will realize that they are unable to turn from sin on their own.
After a final stoning of the walls, pilgrims return to Mecca for a farewell circuit around the Kaaba, and the pilgrimage is over. Muhammad said that if a man goes on pilgrimage to Mecca—and abstains from marital relations and unjust dispute during that journey—“he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 11, Hadith 1274).
- Ask God to open the eyes of Muslims to see that we are born in sin, and that salvation is a free gift, not something we can obtain by works.
How can I get involved?
- Ask for open doors—literally and figuratively. As workers visit neighbors this week, pray that they would meet those who are ready to hear truth.
- Ask that as people hear truth, they would desire to know more. Pray for opportunities for continued study and follow-up in the weeks and months to come.
- Ask that many who have never heard the gospel will hear and bow their hearts in worship to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
- Check out our Islam booklet to learn about Muslim beliefs and practices.
- Get practical tips for sharing Jesus with a Muslim friend.
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