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.
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