Every Muslim who has attained puberty, and is financially and physically capable, must once perform pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) in the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. The most important Mosque for Muslims all over the world is called Masjid al-arām, which is the sanctuary of the Ka‘bah, and is located in Mecca.
All Muslims face towards the Ka‘bah in their prayers. The Ka‘bah is the cubical construction built by the Prophet Abraham and his son, Prophet Ishmael, on the foundations of what had originally been built by the Prophet Adam. Indeed, to a great extent, pilgrimage to Mecca is a symbolic reconstruction of what the Prophet Abraham, the arch monotheist went through in that very place about four thousand years ago. After a long journey, when Abraham arrived in Mecca he was asked by God to make preparations for pilgrims going to Mecca. The Qur’an says:
Do not associate with Me anything, and purify My house for those who circle around it and stand to pray and bow and prostrate themselves. And proclaim among the people the pilgrimage. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel from every remote path so that they may witness the benefits for them; and mention the name of God during the appointed days over what He has given them (22:26-28).
Most surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Bekka (Mecca), blessed and a guidance for the nations. In it are clear signs, the standing place of Abraham, and whoever enters it shall be secure. Pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon people for the sake of God, (upon) everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever turns away, then surely God is Self-sufficient, above any need of the worlds (3:96 &97).
Pilgrimage to Mecca is full of unforgettable experiences. Among them, perhaps the most outstanding are selflessness, brotherhood, equality and simplicity. Every year millions of Muslims from different continents leave their home, family, business, and whatever else is dear to them, and set out on their journey towards Mecca, located in a desert. Everyone is asked to be present there in the same places at the same time all wearing the same clothes and performing the same rites. The rich and the poor, the king and the ordinary man, the elite and the layman all stand shoulder to shoulder and wear two pieces of white cloth. This is something that everyone must experience at least once in his lifetime and should then try to implement lessons learnt from the experience in his day to day life.
Discovering Shi’i Islam Mohammad Ali Shomali 9th Edition