Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

The Rituals of the Hajj

Objective: This lesson explores the religious and historical significance surrounding the various rituals of the hajj and the relationship linking Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

The goal of this lesson is to demonstrate how the hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, reinforces Islamic values and connects Muslims to a worldwide community.

Students will research the pilgrimage to Mecca and the specific rituals of the hajj by using primary and secondary sources, including visuals.


Duration: Three 45-minute class periods (five with the National Geographic documentary)


Opening Discussion

1. Ask students where in the world they hope to visit in their lifetime. Discuss why.

2. What is a pilgrimage? (Maybe have the students draw from what they know of American history: make a connection to the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower—why did they leave England?)

3. Explain that for Muslims, the opportunity to travel to Mecca and perform the hajj is a pilgrimage that most hope to make sometime in their lives.

Show About the Hajj and Preparing for the Hajj from the Hajj Stories video.


4. Divide the class into small groups (three-four students) and give each student a copy of Rituals of the Hajj to read for background information.

5. Have groups complete the worksheet section for the first ritual, Irham, by individually writing their answers in the appropriate box in their packet.

6. As a class, review and discuss. Where applicable, make connections to the students’ own experiences. For example, after students learn about irham, ask when they’ve needed to wear special clothing–or even a uniform–in their own lives. What effect did wearing this clothing have on them? (Possible answers: helped them to bond/identify with the other people in their group, helped them to focus on the reason for the special dress, helped them to take the occasion more seriously, etc.)

7. Repeat this procedure for each of the remaining rituals (B-H), allotting 5-10 minutes for group collaboration and another 5-10 minutes for class discussion and review. Steps 1- 5 will take about two class periods.

8. Optional. Show the National Geographic video Inside Mecca. As a class, discuss the different experiences of the three pilgrims featured in the documentary as well as students’ thoughts and reactions.