This most important act in a Muslim's life, and one of the Five Pillars of Islam, does not have to be an adults-only pilgrimage. Although it is recommended that very young children and infants do not go on the Hajj, because of vulnerability to infection and sunburn, older kids can accompany a Mahram or male relative in just the same way as any woman under 45 years of age must be accompanied to the Hajj.
Although Muslims who are not yet adults are not obliged to perform Hajj, this does not mean that children are unable to perform the great pilgrimage, as just because it is not a duty does not mean it is not worth doing.
For any child that does take part in Hajj their parents will receive the reward for allowing their child to perform the holy ritual. This follows the Muslim tradition of children learning the faith through the actions, words and lessons of their parents. A child who does perform Hajj is also required to perform it at least once again when they become an adult. And it is to be remembered that a mature, solvent Muslim has the Hajj duty and this cannot be absolved by family commitments.
All pilgrims are told to look after the physical safety of women, the elderly and infirm, and children during the rituals, especially in crush situations. So children are given added security meaning they can perform Hajj in safety. Also, during the pelting of the Jamarat, it is advised that children and women are kept clear of dangerous situations that may arise.
The spiritual benefits of Hajj for adults are well known and these apply equally to children. What is more, kids development in terms of humility, purity and harmony with others in their community is also enhanced by an early Hajj experience. And such are the benefits that some Pakistani children have been given a prize of participation in the Hajj for completion of such tasks as memorising the Qu'ran.
Kids fortunate enough to go on the Hajj will follow the rules of preparation for the pilgrimage, ritual cleansing, shaving and manicure to achieve the state of Ihram. And they will dress in the simple white clothing and desist from violence, profanity, vulgarity and vanity.
Observing these rules will allow them to reach a state of devotion that best ensures that they can show their submission to Allah and reap the full benefits of Hajj, making them, in essence, better Muslims.