Hajji (Arabic: الحجّي) (sometimes spelled Hadji, Haji, Alhaji, Al hage, Al-hajj or El-Hajj) is an honorific title which was originally given to a Muslim who had successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca. It is also often used to refer to an elder, since it can take years to accumulate the wealth to fund the travel (and did particularly before the advent of mass air travel), and in many Muslim societies to a respected man as an honorific title. The title is placed before a person's name; for example Saif Gani becomes Hajji Saif Gani.
"Hadži" is also used in Orthodox Christianity for people who go on pilgrimage to the grave of Christ in Jerusalem. It can then be added to the pilgrim's first name, e.g., Hadži-Prodan, Hadži-Đera, Hadži-Ruvim, Hadži-Melentije Stevanović
Hajji is derived from the Arabic ḥājj, which is the active participle of the verb ḥajja ("to make the pilgrimage"). The alternative form ḥajjī is derived from the name of the Hajj with the adjectival suffix -ī, and this was the form adopted by non-Arabic languages. In some areas the title has become a family name, for example in the Bosniak surname Hadžiosmanović ("son of Hajji Osman").
In Arab countries, ḥājj and ḥājjah (pronunciation varies according to the form of Arabic spoken) is a commonly used manner of addressing any older person respectfully, regardless of whether or not the person in question has actually performed the pilgrimage.
In Malay-speaking countries, Haji and Hajah are titles given to Muslim males and females respectively who have performed the pilgrimage. These are abbreviated Hj and Hjh.
The term is also used in the Balkan Christian countries that were once under Ottoman rule (Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Romania) for a Christian who had traveled to Jerusalem and the Holy Lands.
In Cyprus the title became so prevalent as to be permanently integrated into some Greek Christian family names, such as Hajiioannou. This was due to Cyprus being so close to the Holy Lands and Jerusalem, as Cyprus became a place where Christians and Muslims intermixed freely for many centuries.
In the 21st century, American soldiers began using the term Haji as slang for Iraqis, Afghans, or Arab people in general. It is used in the way "gook" or "Charlie" was used by U.S military personnel during the Vietnam War.
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