Year 5 role played a pilgrimage to try and understand Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam.  A pilgrimage is a journey to God and Muslims believe the pilgrimage to Mecca makes their faith stronger.  They feel it makes them more obedient to Allah (they carry out his wishes).

The children began by looking at some photos of the Hajj and writing down any questions they had.

The cloth of the pilgrim is known as 'ihram'.  White cloth is worn so all people are equal, whether rich or poor.  So we made sure we looked the same in our white shirts before travelling to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

First we circled the Kaaba 7 times anticlockwise.  This is called the Tawaf.  Whilst walking, everyone thought about people they depend on.

Next, the children ran or walked between two places called Safa and Marwa.  The two famous 'mountains' are inside the Al-Masjid Al-Haram, the Great Mosque.  This action helps the pilgrims to remember an important person in Muslim history.  Hagar ran between the two hills looking for water for her baby called Ishmael.  When she returned disappointed without water, Ishmael kicked his feet in the sand and a spring of fresh water appeared.

The first night of the Hajj is spent camping at Mina, so we all rested.

Next we went to Arafat.  Muslims believe this was the place where Adam and Hawa were forgiven by God having disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden.  Pilgrims stand during the afternoon and ask God to forgive them.  We thought of a time when someone has upset you and tried to forgive this person.

At sunset we walked to Mina.  Here Muslims remember a story where God was testing Ibrahim to kill his son as a sacrifice.  The Devil tried to stop Ibrahim so they threw stones at him.  God knew that Ibrahim was faithful so told him to sacrifice an animal instead.  The stone pillars at Mina represent the Devil.  We threw a beanbag at the target and thought about a time when we have done something wrong or been tempted to do so.  By throwing the stones, the pilgrims believe they are reminded to resist temptations and evil in their own life.

While at Mina, Muslims celebrate a festival called Eid-ul-Adha.  Animals are sacrificed and the meat which is not eaten is given to the poor.  Men often have their heads shaved as a sign they have completed Hajj and are going to continue their lives in a better way.  We didn't cut our hair and all the sheep in the area are fine, but we did share some dates whilst talking about the traditions of Eid-ul-Adha.

Finally, the children returned to the Kaaba in Mecca and circled 7 times again.

Once the pilgrims have completed all the rituals, they are given a new title.  A man is now a 'Hajji' and a woman a 'Hajja'.

Everyone leant a lot about what happens on the Hajj and why.  We reflected on what it would mean to a Muslim and at the end of the pilgrimage the Year 5s could answer their own questions from the beginning of the lesson.



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